REDMOND, Wash. — A literary revolution is brewing, but not the type one might expect. It’s a literary uprising, and its heart is Nathaniel Tok, a Redmond high schooler with a mission to transform the way his community perceives and engages with the English language. With the help of his friend Siddarth Batchu, Nathaniel founded the “Future Scholar Foundation” (FSF), a nonprofit organization with the goal of reigniting a passion for the written word and a competitive drive among young people.
Nathaniel’s journey began when he noticed a worrying trend: many of his fellow peers found English dull, uninspiring, and boring. His observation was underscored by another pattern at his school: students who excelled in subjects like math were often those who participated in math competitions since they were young. However, Nathaniel saw no equivalent for English—a gap he was eager to fill.
“The strongest math students are usually ‘mathletes,’ but where are the ‘wordletes’ for English?” Nathaniel mused. “Even with tools like ChatGPT available, understanding the basics of writing and being able to express oneself effectively still remain critical skills.”
Determined to change the perception of English, Nathaniel started the FSF, which offers monthly writing competitions for elementary schoolers in order to discourage the formulaic, checked-box writing so often pushed onto younger children in schools. He sought to host contests that encouraged creativity, fostering time management and persistence skills along the way.
“We’ve been conditioned to view [English] writing as something formulaic, with a rubric and sets of boxes to be checked every time we write,” Nathaniel explained. “But it can be so much more. It represents the very essence of our society, of us as humans. It’s the lens through which we can live history and appreciate the inherent beauty of our world. Through the FSF, we’re rewriting the narrative.”
The FSF’s monthly competitions have already garnered attention and support from local schools and businesses, with a diverse range of entries showcasing original thinking and an appreciation for literature. From silly Thanksgiving adventures to gripping, action-packed short stories, students are proving that when given the right platform, their creativity knows no bounds.
Siddarth Batchu, co-founder of the FSF, added, “We’re seeing such inspiring change. Students who used to shy away from writing are now eager to participate. They want to tell their stories, share their ideas, all while winning some fun prizes along the way.”
Nathaniel and Siddarth both hope that the FSF can serve as a steady anchor for the future of writing in an age where the written word is rapidly losing its value. As Nathaniel and his team look toward the future, they see a world where English is not seen as just a boring, mandatory subject in school, but as an essential tool for success and lifelong learning.
For more information about FSF and their competitions, visit https://futurescholarfound.wixsite.com/future-scholar-found.