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Herriman Journal

Eighth grade student is national contender for her writing regarding youth violence

Jul 13, 2020 12:20PM ● By Kirk Bradford

Sophia Parson is an eighth grade national finalist in Utah’s 20th annual “Do the Write Thing Challenge.” (Photo courtesy Sophia Parson)

By Kirk Bradford | [email protected]

Sophia Parsons is being called a talented writer by teachers at her school. The eighth grader from Fort Herriman Middle School is getting national recognition for her powerful words. Sophia is a national finalist in Utah’s 20th annual “Do the Write Thing Challenge,” which is part of the National Campaign to Stop Youth Violence. 

The “Do the Write Thing Challenge” is sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education and plays a key role in Utah’s long-term strategy to end youth violence. The student writings make powerful proposals on how adults and community members can interrupt the causes of youth violence.

Sophia is one of two national finalists and her writing will be included in a book containing students’ essays from all over the country. The writings will be placed in the Library of Congress. Both national finalists won a $500 scholarship deposit into a my529 account, gifts and a certificate signed by Gov. Gary Herbert and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson.

Sophia was interviewed in a podcast by the Jordan District Supercast. In Episode 39: Teen Turns Life Lessons into Powerful Words Winning National Recognition. Sophia said she was inspired by the book “The Outsiders.” She identified with the feelings the character in the book experienced. 

“I am not really a target for youth violence,” she said. “So up until now, in my mind, I felt like I’m not the right person to be talking about this, like I haven’t been directly affected by it. Yet, I figured everyone has a story to share. So, I figured I’d just share mine.” 

Parsons also said that youth violence “boils down to condition and circumstance and understanding the feelings that come up from there.” 

Four other Jordan School District students were recognized as state finalists, including:

• Klayre Humphreys, Joel P. Jensen Middle School

• Hazel Ivers, West Jordan Middle School

• Tyler Richardson, West Jordan Middle School

• Austin Taylor, Fort Herriman Middle School


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