Academic Excellence

DVSS Student Recognized by New York Times

Developing Virtue Secondary School senior Amy Liu was recently recognized in the New York Times as one of its Eighth Annual Student Review Contest finalists. Her review of the meditative documentary Samsara was selected as one of the nine winning entries out of nearly 4,000 student submissions from around the world. Evaluated by New York Times journalists and Learning Network staff, these entries were judged on their expression of opinion, attention to detail, intended audience, as well as their language and style.

Recently named a National Merit finalist, Amy Liu has been previously recognized for her original poetry in the California Poetry Ourselves Creative Writing Competition and the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Her works share a deep thoughtfulness as she reflects on subjects such as human interconnectedness, harmony, and balance.

Her review, titled “‘Samsara’: Look Into a Kaleidoscope and See Yourself,” detailed her experience and insights from watching the 2011 film Samsara, a non-verbal documentary showcasing what Liu called “the wonders, the horrors and the raw truths of the world.” Intrigued by the underlying messages of the film and hoping to share what she had deciphered, she began analyzing the reviews of professional critics. “It was my first time studying the art of criticism,” she said. “I was especially inspired by the works of film reviewer A. O. Scott, who, I felt, struck a perfect balance between describing the visual experience of a movie and its effect on the inner experience — how it made him feel.”

Liu remarked that this experience “playing critic,” as the New York Times likes to call it, allowed her to form a deeper connection with the film and discover the depth of cinematography. “Whether the scene is primeval and nostalgic or breathtakingly exotic,” she wrote in her review, “you will find a piece of yourself in it.”

Amy Liu’s winning review is published in the Learning Network section of the New York Times here.