Essayist extraordinaire wins contest, meets Oprah

Known for her intelligent yet sometimes random chatterbox personality and her ability to win every argument with her unwavering persistence, junior Ambika Athreya has slowly but surely made quite a name for herself at Ames High. Even when at the receiving end of one of Athreya’s unbeatable debates, she is one of those people who is hard not to love. Always sticking up for herself and what she believes in, Athreya’s talents are now beginning to be seen by more than just the students and teachers of Ames High. With “Ambika Athreya” soon becoming a household name, it will not be long until the whole world understands the sheer genius of this Ames High junior. Well, maybe not the whole world, but hey, the girl was on Oprah and won a $10,000 scholarship. The WEB: So how did you get on Oprah? Athreya: I wrote an essay on Elie Wiesel’s Night and was selected as one of the top fifty winners to appear on the show. W: What was your essay about? A: The book Night and its relevance to today. When you read about the Holocasut in a text book it is very distilled. The personal account in Night is much more effective. The quote from Stalin ‘Three bodies in a ditch is a tradegy, one million is a statistic’ is what I fear the Holocaust has become but in Wiesel’s book, one writer serves to reverse this. W: What was most rewarding about the experience? A: I got to meet a lot of amazing kids. A couple of the girls were refugees from Rewanda. Ames is kind of a financially uniform place. It was really rewarding to meet people from different backgrounds. W: How was Oprah? A: I only met her briefly. I don’t really watch her show but I admire that she uses her power for the greater good. She has an ability to connect with people and make big issues digestible for the general populace. W: What are you doing when you’re not writing award winning essays? A: I love to read, listen to music and I run sometimes. I sing Indian classical music and dance. W: Favorite book? A: To Kill A Mockinbird by Harper Lee. I also like Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller and My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber. To watch Ambika on Oprah tune into CBS on May 25. A special on Elie Wiesel will be the day before, May 24.