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English Essay Writing Competition 2011

Nobody knew where he had come from.

It had been an ordinary day at the coffee shop, people diving in through the door from the busy street, picking up a latte or a take-away salad and then out the door again into the icy streets of the city. During the busy lunch hour I seldom took any particular notice of the customers as they ordered and paid, but today a tall, handsome stranger caught my eye.
It was as if time had stopped and the whole coffee shop was bewitched by his charm. People fell silent in the middle of sentences, some even turned around in their seats to see him make his way the counter. I could see his bright green eyes twinkling behind the light brown cloud of curls. I could feel myself blushing and my cheeks glowing. My heart was thudding in my chest harder and faster with every step he took towards me and the counter. Then he opened his mouth.
You know how people say that women are from Venus and men are from Mars? Well, this bloke was probably from somewhere much further away, someplace like Uranus perhaps. The moment he opened his mouth, his charm disappeared and people continued talking. He had a dull, monotone voice, which I can handle in a man, but on top of that he was rude and so full of himself that it made me physically sick.
So, this man ordered his coffee and tried a cheesy pick-up line while waiting, by which I was very much unimpressed with, after which he quickly took off. Nobody had known where he had come from or where he went, but I think nobody really cared.

Ester Bálint, Kallion lukio

English Essay Writing Competition 2011

The Federation of Finnish-British Societies annual English Essay Writing Competition was held for the 27th time on the 26th and 27th of January, 2011. The essay titles were posted on the Finnbrit Website for download on the exam dates. Teachers then sent in the best essay from each class, and in all 167 essays were received from a total of 58 schools.
The jury was composed of five judges, including representatives from the Helsinki Finnish-British Society, the Finnish Matriculation Examination Board, and the University of Helsinki English Philology Department.

The judges gave first prize to Ester Bálint from Kallion lukio for her lively, amusing and well-expressed essay – the nice twist at the end of the tale was especially appreciated.

The judges also wished to specially commend Joona Knorn for his atmospheric and sophisticated essay which communicated an eerie and effective science-fiction feel.

The standard of essays was as usual high, and the judges would like to congratulate the runners-up and thank all those who took part in the competition.
Mark Shackleton, Chairman, Essay Writing Competition.

Essay topics:
1. Write a story beginning: Nobody knew where he/she had come from...
2. Are computers killing conversation?
3. My ideal companion.
4. Life in 2020.
5. What can we learn from the past?

First prize, a trip to England    
Ester Balint Kallion lukio Topic no. 1
Special commendation prize (dictionary)    
Joona Knorn Etelä-Tapiolan lukio Topic no. 1.
Runners-up prize, an English dictionary:    
(in alphabetical order)    
Tuuli Haapanen Mikkelin lukio Topic no. 2.
Katriina Kenttämies Tampereen lyseon lukio Topic no. 3.
Sami Kotasaari Haminan lukio Topic no. 4.
Kauri Laine Luostarivuoren lukio Topic no. 5.
Sebastian Lindström Mattlidens gymnasium Topic no. 1.
Ananya Tanttu Helsingin kuvataidelukio Topic no. 2.
Heikki Toivanen Joensuun yhteiskoulun lukio Topic no. 4.