From the Boston Globe
July 27, 2003

Newton Girl Wins Pearl Contest

By Jared Stearns
Globe Correspondent

 

A Newton teenager has won first place in the inaugural Spirit of Daniel Pearl Foundation Youth Writing Contest for her essay about her efforts to promote tolerance and volunteer work at a local homeless shelter.

 

”It’s not enough for schools to sit kids down and respond to obvious forms of hate,” said Julia Carney, 17, a recent graduate of Newton North High School. ”In the real world, it’s about responding to more insidious forms of disrespect.”

 

The foundation, which presented Carney with a Sony laptop, was created to honor Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who died in Pakistan while covering the war in Afghanistan.

 

In her essay, Carney recalled an incident at her high school two years ago in which swastikas were scribbled on the walls of a boys’ bathroom. She said students had been encouraged to respond boldly to such crimes. But after working at a women’s homeless shelter, Carney said in her essay, ”it’s not enough to preach about respect for others. For these lessons to have worth, students need to go into the larger community and put what is taught into practice.”

 

Carney, who will attend Trinity College in Hartford, said she was honored to receive the recognition, especially since it was named for Pearl. ”He was not only an amazing journalist, but an amazing person in general,” she said. ”He really strove to create dialogue between two different groups that may not have looked at each other’s side. He strove to make people more aware.”

 

The writing contest was designed to engage youth and promote greater understanding across cultural divides. Applicants were asked to write about how Pearl’s story, or a personal experience of intolerance, affected them.

 

Pearl’s sister, Tamara, of the foundation, said Carney’s essay stood out among the 500 entries because she was able to relate her experiences to real life.

 

”We thought it was really powerful that her experience was grounded in the real world, and it changed her,” Tamara Pearl said. ”She was able to articulate that.”

 
(This story ran on page C2 of the Boston Globe on 7/27/2003.)

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.