Wilkinson Quincentenary Prize Winners

St John's College, Cambridge, is delighted to announce that the following three sixth-form school and college students have been awarded Wilkinson Quincentenary Prizes:

Hector Janse van Rensburg, Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge

John McConnel, Sedbergh School, Cumbria

Rebekah Smith, Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Horncastle, Lincolnshire

The Wilkinson Quincentenary Prizes are awarded to the authors of essays of between 2000 and 4000 words on topical subjects set or approved by the College.  Entrants are currently in Year 12, or the equivalent.  The competition assesses entries for distinction, measured by reference to mastery of relevant detail, the fluency of argument, the level of analytical skills, the degree of originality shown and evidence of personal initiative. 

These exciting new prizes are awarded in 2011 for the first time, to mark the five hundredth anniversary of the College's foundation.  Each student receives £750, with a further £750 going to the candidates' schools and colleges to purchase academic materials.  Prizewinners are also invited to stay in College for a week over the summer vacation, working in the well-equipped College Library and in other Cambridge collections on a project of their choice.

'The College has been able to launch this prize in its Quincentenary year thanks to the generous support of a benefactor, Heather Hancock, née Wilkinson.  It has been greatly impressed by the high standard of entries received.  Eighty-three schools submitted entries this year.

The three successful entrants will receive their Prizes from Professor Eric Maskin, Nobel Laureate (Economics, 2007), at a presentation ceremony in College on 4 July.

Professor Christopher Dobson, Master of St John's College, said'˜We have been overwhelmed by the number and quality of the entrants for these new prizes, and hope that they will serve to encourage the best and brightest students in the land to aspire to the highest level of academic achievement.'

Dr Mark Nicholls, President of the College and one of the judges, noted that'˜Compiling a shortlist and picking the winners from so many fine essays has not been at all easy. The judges feel that the winning entries are a testament to the candidates' flair for writing, to a commendable degree of hard work and mature thought, to excellent research, and to some very good teaching.'