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California, Utah, Florida students earn top prize in National Center for State Courts civics education essay contest
Williamsburg, Va. (May 9, 2023) -- California, Utah and Florida students have won top honors in the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) 2023 Civics Education Essay Contest.
For the past 10 years, NCSC has challenged youth to reflect on topics related to civics education and the U.S. Constitution. The 2023 contest asked students to discuss their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
“This year, we really wanted students to appreciate the important connection that civics, civility and collaboration play in our democracy,” said NCSC President Mary C. McQueen. “Their essays reflect an increased understanding of these founding principles and will prepare them to assume an active role in our democratic republic.”
The contest attracted 1,700 students from 45 states and Puerto Rico. Essay scoring ranked the student's understanding of the topic, creativity, grammar, spelling and style. The nine winners will receive cash prizes totaling $3,000.
Essays were blind judged by NCSC staff, volunteer attorneys and a finalist panel with NCSC Board Chair and Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush and Karon LeCompte, Ph.D., of the iEngage Summer Civics Institute at Baylor University and 2022 recipient of NCSC’s Sandra Day O’Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education.
The 2023 winners include:
High school (grades 9-12)
- First place – Phoebe Wang, California
- Second place – Bergen Milliren, Washington
- Third place – Mariam Abaza, Ohio
Middle school (grades 6-8)
- First place – An Nguyen, Utah
- Second place – Anson Li, Wisconsin
- Third place – Kuvam Bhatia, Georgia
Elementary school (grades 3-5)
- First place – Larissa Karpeles, Florida
- Second place – Ilyannie Tuason Gonzalez, Washington
- Third place – Stella Huang, Maryland
To read the winning essays, visit ncsc.org/contest.