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The essays featured in this edition of the Arak Journal were written in the spring and fall of 2019, which seems to many of us like a century ago. Socially and politically, 2020 also feels like an entirely new era. Nevertheless, all six pieces in this issue still speak to our moment. These essays teach—they do not just merely reflect student learning. Our six student authors advance important arguments about politics, sport, fashion, and the environment that inform us and invite us to revise our perspectives on important issues related to the ways we treat each other and our world.
These six essays were selected via a series of blind reviews by instructors of English 110. Writers' names were removed from entries to help ensure a fair evaluation process. Our selection committee of enthusiastic, indefatigable writing instructors worked through an intense spring semester to read all the entries, taking them through three rigorous stages of evaluation, and whittling them down to the final six. After finalists were chosen and informed of their selection, two editors worked with the student writers to source check and edit the essays for publication. As in years past, diversity in approach and topic choice is a strength of this collection. We strive for such diversity every year because we want readers to appreciate the fact that there is more than one way to compose compelling, well-researched, thesis-driven academic essays.
The essays are the culmination of dozens of drafts and hours of work from the writers, their instructors, and their peers. Discovery, drafting, research, revision, development, more research, more revision, editing, more editing: that is the stuff of this demanding, exciting, personal and collaborative endeavor that we call writing. And these essays showcase some of its wonderful rewards. Our hope is that first-year English 110 students will see the possibilities that such efforts help to create, and be inspired to take on ambitious, complex, morally urgent writing projects of their own.
None of this would be possible without a generous financial gift from Sydney F. Arak and Ruth Toor in honor of their parents, John and Frieda Arak. A sincere thank you to Mr. Arak, Ms. Toor, and the many others across the University of Delaware's campus who believe that writing is at the heart of learning and discovery.
To learn more about the UD Composition Program, please visit our website, OneHundredTen.org.
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