Dr. Wes: This week we begin the seventh annual Double Take essay contest to find the ninth co-author of the column. The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship for freshman year of college from dr-wes.com and $100 from Central National Bank, and an even more valuable line item on college apps and resume.
The co-author may also enter columns into any future Dear Dr. Wes books we publish. The deadline is 8 p.m. April 27, with interviews tentatively set for the weekend of May 5-6.
Here are this year’s qualifications:
- A 2013 senior at an area high school, or an exceptional junior with excellent references. We’ve had four students from Free State, three from LHS and one from Bishop Seabury.
- One-year commitment from August 2011 through August 2012.
- Skilled writer for class projects or school paper.
- Maturity and sensibility. Kids currently caught up in serious drinking, drugs, abusive relationships, etc., won’t be credible and will be subject to public critique — of which there is plenty.
- Willing to share open-minded opinions about the problems of adolescence. Extreme views, liberal or conservative, do not fit with this format or demographic.
- Ability to work as a team over email and churn out one 350-word column every Thursday, 50 weeks a year.
- Have agreeable parents. This is a high-profile and occasionally controversial job. Parents should read our books if they have any qualms.
Review the application process carefully:
- Write a 350-word essay responding to the challenge question, offering your best advice. Good answers may not be the obvious ones. All essays will be judged by a panel of authors from the Kansas City Writers Group, Dr. Wes and Miranda.
- List 10 topics you would like to tackle as a Double Take author. If you win, you’ll be assigned many of the topics you suggest.
- Ask a teacher or other adult (not parents) to write a brief email outlining your strengths and weaknesses in taking on the column.
- Send all materials to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll announce winners in mid-May, and publish the top essay in the Journal-World and the others online.
If the winner cannot complete his or her term, the runner-up will do so and receive the scholarship.
Submission of essays implies release for the Journal-World to publish. Do your own work. All entries will be searched on the Internet to be sure they are original.
Miranda: Writing for Double Take is not easy. It requires a lot of different skills, “thinking outside of the box” and pushing yourself to new limits.
It’s like a job. I have deadlines and expectations. At the same time, it’s a truly unique experience.
In high school, we learn a lot of theoretical knowledge, crucial for the next step in our education.
Double Take isn’t the least bit theoretical. It’s real world, and it’s honest. It isn’t like writing for an English class. Essay after essay can be monotonous, but each weekly column is different.
As with any other commitment, you will have to make sacrifices. There have been times since August when all I wanted to do is sleep, but I have to write this week’s column. Other times I’ve had to skip a football game or school bonfire to make my deadline.
But it’s more than just a time commitment. Some weeks Double Take has wrung me out to dry emotionally. I don’t get to skip an article because I don’t like the topic or because I read someone’s letter and have no clue whatsoever on how to answer. I just have to do it.
But please don’t let any of that scare you away. This job is one of the most gratifying experiences of my high school career, and I love doing it week after week. I feel that if I give one person advice that helps them or makes their life better, then I know I’m doing this right.
Have you ever heard someone say, “If it’s easy, then it isn’t worth it?” Well, Double Take is worth it. Wes has created an opportunity to sound off, give opinions and offer advice on the issues that teens are dealing with right now. Even more than that, it’s a forum that adults read and hear what we have to say.
Challenge question: I had a bad experience recently while I was drinking. I don’t remember everything that happened, but I do know somebody I don’t like and don’t have a relationship with had sex with me. I only told two friends. One says that it was date rape, and the other says it I shouldn’t accuse him of that because I was so wasted that I might have done it voluntarily, and besides nobody will believe me that it wasn’t consensual. What should I do?