A number of Trinity Sixth Form students recently entered the Northeastern University London Essay Competition (formerly the New College of Humanities).

More than 5,000 essays were submitted and organisers said they were “exceptional and thought-provoking [and] choosing winners was no easy task.” Congratulations to six Lower Sixth Form students who received special recognition for their entries: 

Julian Holland was ‘Highly Commended’ for his History essay on what we can learn from the study of past empires and imperialism. His original essay avoided the typical Eurocentricism by focusing instead on a number of prominent African Kingdoms.

Tom Willmer was a ‘Finalist’ with a Politics essay arguing that faith in democracy can be restored through increased accountability, further devolution and, most interestingly, the expansion of democratic principles into the economic sphere. This Special Commendation was awarded to students who submitted an exceptional essay and narrowly missed out on winning. 

Thomas Law was ‘Highly Commended’ for his essay on the ethics of justice, entitled: “Must we always obey the law?”. Tom took the position that, academically, obedience to the law is to be commended but practically, it can often be harmful. With reference to classic ethics, Kant and Foot’s Trolley Problem, Tom explored this issue through the lens of modern examples, such as Roe v Wade and the Civil Rights Movement. He reached the conclusion that strict adherence to dogma is the true enemy of progress! 

Finn Larsen Pugh was also a ‘Finalist’ (Special Commendation) for his essay on whether we should obey the law. Finn focused on whether the law should be disobeyed whilst a judicial review challenge is pending, or where an individual’s human rights had been infringed. Finn went onto consider whether a ‘defence of necessity’ has been established and whether it should be applied more broadly.

Catherine Lanaspre was ‘Highly Commended’ for her answer to the question, “Can it ever be morally acceptable to sacrifice an innocent person for some greater good?”. She considered Aquinas’ Doctrine of Double Effect but, ultimately, came out in favour of a more lenient form of Philippa Foot’s theory of negative and positive duties. 

Sivakami Arunan was ‘Highly Commended’ for her essay applying the law on proprietary estoppel to a hypothetical case for the Peter Cane Legal Reasoning Competition run by Corpus Christi College, Oxford. The judges commented on Sivakami’s ‘strength of argument’ and ‘clarity of writing’ due to her ‘methodical approach to identifying and resolving legal issues’.

Mrs Beresford-Miller, Head of Religious Studies, said, “We are thrilled that all students chose to spend time in their already busy schedules to wrestle with complex material both alongside and outside of the A Level courses. That their endeavours have been recognised by the competition judges is the icing on the cake.” 

The competition was open to ‘intellectually curious’ students from around the world in their penultimate year of secondary education. Students were offered essay titles across a broad range of humanities and social sciences topics.  

Well done to all!

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