Announcing the winner of the 2016 Ocean Essay Contest

For immediate release:

December 1, 2016

The 2016 Williams College-Mystic Seaport Ocean Essay Contest in honor of Joseph Conrad, after receiving a record-breaking number of entries from well over 70 high schools, colleges, and universities, has awarded first prize to Simon Ladner of Ocean Springs High School, Mississippi, for his entry “The Sound.”

Guest judge T. Scott McMillin of Oberlin College and author of The Meaning of Rivers, wrote of Simon’s entry:

“Ladner’s evocative piece, dwelling on what is “not exactly the ocean,” combines detailed observation, colorful metaphor, and personal reflection on the ever-changing nature of the Gulf Coast. The result is a short, sweetly shifting account of the sea’s work in a world constantly under construction, valuable in its own right and meaningful to those who will take the time to care.”

Simon Ladner is a high school senior in the small coastal town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. He enjoys writing essays, poetry, and fiction, and he spends his free time practicing piano, singing in the local choir, and spending copious amounts of time at his favorite coffee shop. Simon will receive a $400 prize and guest passes to the Mystic Seaport.

Two honorable mentions were also selected: Heriberto Coronado of Johnny Economedes High School for his short story, “The Sailor,” and Zaria Glenn of Ardrey Kell High School for her piece, “The Devil’s Water.”


Williams-Mystic, the country’s premiere maritime studies program, is the sponsoring entity for this contest and award. This world-renowned accredited study away semester hosts students from around the world with a rigorous curriculum that is based on an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary hands-on course of study focused on the world’s oceans and coastlines. Together, students of all majors study the history, literature, policy and science of our oceans and coastlines.

For more information about Williams-Mystic:

For more information on the Williams College-Mystic Seaport Ocean Essay Contest, please visit our contest site.

Mauro Diaz-Hernandez, Assistant Director of Admissions and Director of Enrollment, [email protected]

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