Maya Wichman

Sophomore honored at Westchester County Supreme Court

Turkish is a gender-neutral language, yet gender inequality in Turkey is a very prevalent issue. This was one of the facts that sophomore Maya Wichman presented in an essay arguing that the elimination of gender pronouns would not promote gender equality.

The John Jay student was named runner up in the 9th and 10th grade category for her essay in a competition sponsored by the Ninth Judicial District Committee to promote gender fairness in the courts. Maya and three other winners were honored on Friday, May 19, at the Westchester County Supreme Court in White Plains.

Dr. Steven Siciliano and Maya Wichman

Essay inspired by Humanities Research class discussions

“We’re all proud of Maya for seizing this opportunity and making her voice heard,” said John Jay Principal Dr. Steven Siciliano, who attended the award ceremony. “Democracy belongs to those who do the work and we’re so glad she did.”

Maya said that she was inspired to participate in the essay contest through class discussions in Humanities Research, taught by Therese Von Steenburg. “I am passionate about gender equality, and this essay gave me an opportunity to share my opinions on the topic,” said Maya.

Not only was Maya presented with a certificate and a check at the ceremony, she was able to read her essay to a room full of judges, attorneys, staff and guests. It closed with a call to focus on eliminating the real problem: the misogyny and transphobia that people face, "which gender-neutral pronouns will not fix."