Office of Minority Student Affairs

Parent & Family Relations Essay Contest

student writing

“Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people
who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.”

Author: Gail Lumet Buckley

Family Pillar Award

The Family Pillar Award is given in honor of the significant contributions, sacrifices and support that family members make in the lives of University of Rochester seniors supported by OMSA. OMSA and Parent & Family Relations invite students to submit an essay about a family member who has had a significant influence on their lives here at Rochester and beyond. Essays are judged by a committee of faculty and staff.

About the Family Essay Contest

The Family Essay Contest, sponsored and presented by Parent & Family Relations provides OMSA supported graduating seniors with an opportunity to recognize parents, grandparents or other family members whose love, support and guidance have had a significant influence on his/her achievements and success, both academically and personally.

About the Essay

Author Gail Lumet Buckley wrote, “Family faces are like magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.” Using this quote as a guide, please explain how your parent, grandparent, or other family member has positively influenced your past and present. Share how this influence has contributed to your personal growth and academic success at the University of Rochester and how you plan to use this influence as you look toward your future. The family member referenced in your essay will be nominated to receive this year’s Family Pillar Award.

To enter, you must be an OMSA supported graduating senior. Entries must be 500-750 words in length.

  • Essays will be judged and the award recipient selected using the following criteria:
  • Thoughtful reflection on the positive influence illustrated and the ways in which the nominee has helped to prepare a brighter future for the student.
  • Clear and concise development of points.
  • Appropriate grammatical correctness and sentence structure.

Deadline and Submission Details

Please submit all essays by using the entry form. You must be an OMSA supported graduating senior. Entries must be 500-750 words in length.

Note: The deadline for submissions is Sunday, May 4, 2014.

Online Submission Form

Recognition and Prizes

A selection committee will review all submitted essays. All nominees will receive a congratulatory letter and a copy of the essay submission. Recognition of the winning essay and the award recipient(s) will occur during the OMSA 41st Annual Senior Dinner on Saturday, May 17, 2014.

The student who writes the winning essay will be presented with a UR gift basket and the winner(s) of the Family Pillar Award will be presented with a plaque. The winning student will also be highlighted in the OMSA Chronicle.

Past Winners:

  • 2013—George and Afiwa Kothor, essay written by daughter, Marius Kothor
  • 2012—Michael Conover, essay written by son, Neftali Morales.
  • 2011—Daisy Benson, essay written by her daughter, Lynn Benson.
  • 2010—Winsome Brissett, essay written by her daughter, Kayann Williams.
  • 2009—Cynthia German, essay written by her brother Robert Duran.
  • 2008—Deborah Willis, essay written by Paulette Cooke.