Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Edelson ’19 Wins Prestigious Essay Contest

Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Edelson ’19 Wins Prestigious Essay Contest

“Think higher, feel deeper”

Selected among hundreds of applicants for her exceptional essay “analyzing relevant ethical issues facing our world,” SCH graduate Sarah Edelson, Class of 2019 and a senior at Amherst College, was awarded second prize in the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Writing Contest.

Established by the foundation of Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel and his wife, Marion, the contest encourages students to write thought-provoking personal essays that raise questions, single out issues, and offer rational arguments for ethical action.

Polly Kimberly, associate director of College Counseling, Upper School Diversity Coordinator and Sarah’s advisor for three years, recalls her passion for social justice while a student at SCH. 

“From the time she arrived in 10th grade, Sarah stood out at SCH for her courage; the thornier the topic, the more eager she was to tackle it. By her sophomore year she’d been accepted as a Student Facilitator, trained to spark and facilitate conversations among peers about topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and no matter the topic, Sarah offered provocative questions and nuanced insights. She was—and clearly still is—deeply committed to illuminating and working to dismantle inequity and injustice.”

Her essay is “Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program: A Moral Responsibility to Right Wrongs of Harmful Housing Policies and ‘Urban Renewal’ Programs.” The piece explores the “ethics of both private and public entities contributing to residential segregation during the post-war period in pursuit of economic development, and how Black communities can be revitalized today.”

Dov Seidman, author of How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything, columnist and businessman, is the exclusive partner of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Prize in Ethics. He writes, “At a time when there are forces keeping us apart and polarizing our society, the winning students represent the hope that we can come together. These emerging leaders embody Professor Wiesel’s adage to ‘think higher, feel deeper.’”

Second prize comes with a $5,000 scholarship and an opportunity for Sarah to discuss her essay with other prize winners in New York City as well as a celebration of their achievement at the renowned Lotos Club.


Sarah Edelson is a senior at Amherst College, where she is pursuing majors in both economics and architectural studies. She has served as a Gregory S. Call academic intern in the Mathematics & Statistics Department and an Amherst-Folger Undergraduate Research Fellow. A varsity collegiate field hockey player, Sarah was named an NFCHA 2020 Scholar of Distinction and was also named part of the NESCAC Fall All-Academic Team in 2020 and 2021. Earlier this summer, she represented her country as part of the Maccabi USA Field Hockey Team at the Maccabiah Games in Israel. She and her team became gold medalists, and it was the first time that the USA won a gold medal in field hockey in the history of the games. 

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