Mikhail Khodak, 17, of Hatfield, may one day grow up to be an essayist and journalist like Tom Wolfe, Gore Vidal or Arthur Miller.
For now, he will simply revel in being one of 17 finalists— four from North Penn High School—in the Penn State Essay Contest.
Khodak was chosen as a finalist because his impromptu essay in response to an article written by New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman had a lot of control, analysis and writing skill.
“I enjoyed it,” Khodak said of the article. “I enjoyed a topic I’ve read before. His ideas are very interesting.”
Friedman’s article was called “Global Village Idiocy,” and it criticized the advent of technology and its influence on our global society.
“I have international relationships, and I pay attention to what happens in foreign countries as much as the next person,” he said. “I follow the news a lot.”
Khodak’s response focused on relations in Russia and how he can communicate with family and friends more easily via change and technology.
“I wrote about the way revolution can arise and spread via Twitter and Facebook,” he said, “like the 2009 revolutions in Iran.”
Khodak expanded his writing from what he has done in English class previously. He said being a finalist was indicative of the things that the school is doing for students.
“It helped a lot to expand on my skills and utilize them,” he said.
“I know I’m usually very wordy, and I write a lot,” Khodak said of his essay-writing process. “I just wrote what I felt was right at the time.”
He admitted that while English is not his favorite subject, it is one of his favorite classes. Khodak aspires to major in math or economics.
“I’m happy that I was able to participate, and I’m grateful for the North Penn English department,” he said. “I’m proud of my accomplishments.”
Do you have a Whiz Kid to nominate for Montgomeryville-Lansdale Patch? Contact editor Tony Di Domizio at firstname.lastname@example.org.