Elisha-Grace King '23 Wins NEACAC Essay Contest

Elisha-Grace King '23 Wins NEACAC Essay Contest
Suzanne Morrissey

The New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC) announced that Elisha-Grace King ’23 has been selected as the Overall winner of the 2023 NEACAC Essay Contest! Her essay “The Dragon Fighter in Pink Glitter vs. College Admissions” stood out from more than 160 entries, and earned its author a $2,000 award. “This is a big deal in the College Office!” said College Counselor Nina Hind (agreed!). Read the award-winning essay, in which Elisha-Grace describes being able to count on her fierce 5-year-old self for support, below. 

The Dragon Fighter in Pink Glitter vs. College Admissions
By Elisha-Grace King ’2

On my very first day of school, my dad told me to stand in front of an entranceway for a picture. “Each year,” he said, grinning, “we’ll take one right here.” We used a little silver Nikon camera constructed with such plainness that it still functions today. Twelve first days later, the original photo lives among dozens more memories captured on my boarding school dorm wall.

The photo displays a quintessential early 2010s childhood outfit. Pink polka-dots, a bedazzled headband, a jade necklace I stole from my sister’s drawer, and a little grin that didn’t exemplify just how excited I was to be at school. I felt like I was a “big kid”. I hadn’t realized I should probably first master the difference between lowercase “b” and lowercase “d” before wearing that crown.

Now a senior in high school, my kindergarten photo represents the fiercest parts of my identity. The little girl in the photo has the confidence to take on anything, making her the compass that has most influenced me. She is the greatest, most enchanting version of myself. Within the span of recess, she could transform from an astronaut to a mad lab scientist to a queen reigning over the entire planet. She fought dragons on the playground, voyaged through backyard jungles, and climbed to the highest heights her little legs could take her. In every story, she was the heroine. Tackling the college process has been her greatest battle yet.

Over this past year of writing countless supplements, studying for hours of AP tests, and, of course, enjoying my final year of high school, I’ve felt the child in the photo tug on my arm. With her tiny, pink glitter nail-polished hands, she guides me back to where I started; wildly imaginative and relentlessly curious. The barriers that surrounded her, which would only heighten as she discovered more of who she was, were not even a known presence. All the things she was and could dream up were unbounded. Carrying this fearless ambition with me, I reached for the stars that seemed inescapably impossible to touch; my dream colleges and universities. 

Today, I am preparing to attend McGill University in search of “heroic” solutions to climate change that require the same hope and creativity I’ve possessed since childhood. I am eternally grateful to each of my counselors, teachers, coaches, and friends who have helped me transcend my circumstances. As graduation nears, I reflect on all the bits of knowledge I’ve gained from school; the colors of the rainbow in first grade, the solar system in fourth, and how to write a decent college essay in twelfth. Without those who supported me, I couldn’t say I had successfully built my unique path toward higher education. However, there could not have possibly been someone I trusted more than my 5-year-old self to courageously jumpstart the marks I hope to make on the world.