Five students who participated in Hope College's 1998 Vienna Summer School have been named winners in the 17th annual Howard Plaggemars Essay Competition.
The winners are: first place, Robert Dietz, a
senior from Reynoldsburg, Ohio; second place, Amy
Strassburger, a 1998 Hope graduate from Alto; and three
third place winners, senior Kelly Martin of Oswego, Ill.,
junior Erin Selmer of Seymour, Wis., and senior Janelle
Coffey of Spring Lake.
All entries responded to some aspect of each
student's experiences in Europe this past summer under the
guidance of Dr. Stephen I. Hemenway, who has been the
director of the Vienna Summer School program for 23 years
and is a professor of English at Hope. The donor of the
prizes, Howard Plaggemars of Holland, is a 1960 and 1961
alumnus of the Vienna Summer School, as well as a 1960 Hope
Dietz, who is majoring in English, received his
award for a collection of poems entitled "Six Poetic
Memories of Vienna Summer School." Strassburger, who
majored in history, received her award for a personal essay,
"Stomach Ache." Martin, a communication major, received her
award for a personal essay, "Moments." Selmer, an English
major, received her award for a poem, "My Orbit." Coffey,
who has a combination major in English and communication,
received her award for a personal essay, "Looking Back."
Three Vienna Summer School graduates, all of whom
are previous winners in the Plaggemars Essay Competition,
served as judges: Rebecca Russcher of Fennville, a 1996
Hope graduate who is a research scholar in history; Tom
Bamborough, a 1983 Hope graduate who is principal of
Bamborough Print Communication in Ada; and Elizabeth
Trembley, a 1985 Hope graduate who is head of academics at
Davenport College in Holland and author of a recent study of
Michael Crichton's works.
The prizes included cash awards of $100, $50 and
$25 for first, second and third places, respectively.
Since the Vienna Summer School's founding in 1956
by Dr. Paul G. Fried, more than 2,000 students from more
than 175 colleges and universities have discovered how
summer study in Vienna can provide them with a meaningful
introduction to the rich heritage of European civilization.
Consisting of two consecutive three-week sessions,
the program offers students a choice of work in art history,
communication, economics, Austrian history, music history,
German and Austrian literature, Eastern European literature
and a senior seminar, all taught in English, as well as
courses in German language, taught in German. Students are
housed with Austrian families, and are free to plan their
leisure time and take weekend excursions led by Hemenway to
places like Salzburg, Venice, Budapest, Prague and the