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HomeStudent Essay Winners

STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS


LWV Greenwich is pleased to announce the results of our Third Annual Student Essay Contest.  This year, students in grades 8-12 who either live or go to school in Greenwich were encouraged to choose from one three prompts (see below for what they were).  A top paper was selected in each category, and the grand-prize winner of $1000 was chosen across all the submissions.  Every entry was outstanding, and all of them are available here to read.

The Award Winners will be recognized at our Annual Dinner on Wednesday, June 1, 6:30 pm at the Riverside Yacht Club.  

RESERVE FOR Dinner

GRAND PRIZE WINNER 🏆 Noah Kim



Noah Kim is a junior at Greenwich High School.  The overall prize-winning essay, a response to the prompt "Elections Matter in Greenwich", is titled Importance of Local Elections.

Read it here:

open noah's essay

CATEGORY-WINNING ESSAYS

Essay Option 1 Winner

The Words That Made Us Vol. 2


How should Akhil Reed Amar open the second volume in his trilogy about our ongoing Constitutional conversation, The Words That Made Us Equal: 1840-1920?

Benjamin Fertig

EC22 Ben Fertig

Ben Fertig is a senior at Greenwich High School.  The prize-winning essay is titled We All Are Created Equal.  

Read it here:

open Ben's essay

Essay Option 2 Winner

Voting Rights


What do we do next to strengthen voting rights and ensure free and fair elections?

Siyuan Feng



Siyuan Feng is a junior at Greenwich High School.  The prize-winning essay is titled Voting Rights.  

Read it here:

open siyuan's essay

Essay Option 3 Winner

Elections Matter in Greenwich


Why do local elections matter in Greenwich?

  Kai Le


EC22 Kai Le

Kai Le is a junior at Brunswick  School.  The prize-winning essay is titled The Im
portance of Local Elections in a Functioning Democracy.  


Read it here:

open kai's essay


Ten LWV Greenwich member-volunteers judged the essays. To them, all essays were anonymous both by individual and by school. Every submitted essay was read by at least two judges. The top ten essays, by score, were read by four judges. The grading rubric included  assessments of the essay’s organization, of the persuasiveness of the argument, and of whether the author documented their research. The essays submitted by all winners were checked to ensure original work.

The judging panel included Greenwich Selectpersons Lauren Rabin and Janet Stone McGuigan, LWV Greenwich President Sandy Waters, and seven former educators: Caroline Adkins, Jean DiVincenzo, Ann Edwards, Anthony Moor, Barbara O’Neill, Susan Rattray, and Ann Sampson. Waters, Rabin, and O'Neill all formerly served on the Greenwich Board of Education; Waters and Adkins are current LWV Greenwich Board members and Stone McGuigan is a past member. 

Each of the essays represents dedication and a commitment of time to research, to write, and to submit. All were impressive and deserving of individual recognition for each student's contribution.  The honorable mention papers are below.

Essay Topic Prompt Options

OPTION 1
Volume Two of The Words That Made Us


How should Akhil Reed Amar open the second volume in his trilogy about our ongoing Constitutional conversation, The Words That Made Us Equal: 1840-1920

Yale University Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science Akhil Reed Amar is one of the most cited legal scholars of all time, particularly by the Supreme Court.  The Words That Made Us: 1760-1840 is the first volume of a magnum opus melding the legal and political history of the United States.  It concludes, on pages 697-8, with a challenge to the reader to provide an opening scene for volume two of three.

My story, at least for now, has ended too soon---before America's most notable crusading women and most influential African Americans have had a proper chance to stride onto center stage...  This is a story I can't wait to tell...  The opening scene of The Words That Made Us Equal is not yet cast in concrete.  So if any earnest reader of this postscript has suggestions, I'm all ears.

Accept Professor Amar's challenge and suggest a scene that conveys the next phase of the Constitutional conversation, which is followed in 1921 by the founding of the League of Women Voters.

Your essay should propose a story to open the middle volume of this series, covering 1840-1920.

OPTION 2
Voting Rights


What do we do next to strengthen voting rights and ensure free and fair elections?

Responding to allegations of voter fraud, in 2021 more than a third of state legislatures considered bills that many argue would restrict access to the polls.

The League of Women Voters has a long history of supporting the expansion of voting rights and participation nationwide, and advocated for the John Lewis Voting Rights Bill considered by the United States Congress, in 2021 by the House of Representatives and in January 2022 by the Senate.  A majority of the Senate upheld filibuster protections which prevented the bill's passage.

On January 27th  the League of Women Voters of Greenwich hosted an hour-long discussion titled "State and Federal Voting Rights: What's Next?" with Andrew Garber of the Brennan Center's Voting Rights and Elections Program.  You are encouraged to view the recording.

Your essay should be addressed to the League of Women Voters US or the LWV Connecticut, and lay out a strategy they can pursue now to strengthen voting rights at the national or state level.

OPTION 3
Elections Matter in Greenwich


Why do local elections matter in Greenwich?

Are you passionate about how your school is run?  Who makes decisions about that and how?  (Private schools too are subject to local government choices in many ways.)

Did you know that the largest municipal legislative body in the country, the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting (RTM), saw a wave of new candidates five years ago for the first time in a century?  Or that nearly 1,000 of your fellow citizens attended local political party caucuses this year?  Do you know why?

How does Greenwich government work?

Why do local politics generate such passion among so few who actually vote?  Why do fewer than 40% of registered voters vote in Greenwich in a municipal election year like 2021?  What's at stake?  Why does it matter?

Your essay should be a persuasive Letter to the Editor explaining why local elections matter and why voters should pay more attention to issues and candidates in Greenwich elections. 


Contest Rules
  • Choose one of the three prompts
  • Compose an original essay of 600-800 words
  • Submit it in PDF format
  • Each entry must be the verifiable original work of the submitter
  • No fee required
Formatting
  • Include a title at the top of the paper incorporating the prompt
  • Do not include your name!
  • Fully document the paper using MLA 9 or Chicago style
  • Post a word count below the conclusion, exclusive of title and citations
  • Append a separate page for works cited
Judging
  • A panel of LWV Greenwich members evaluated the papers
  • Judges did not see the names or schools of submitters
  • A top essay for each prompt option was named
  • One grand-prize paper was selected across all three categories


Be involved!!
 
*  Join LWV Greenwich (it's free for students)
*  Read local newspapers often
*  Attend the next League event
*  Watch videos of past League events
*  Help REGISTER young voters
*  Encourage everyone in your family to vote, at every opportunity
*  Follow LWVGreenwich on Facebook and Instagram and share our posts
*  Check here for more ideas

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