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Orange County Student wins Grand Prize in National Civics Essay Contest

A rising junior from Orange County, California has been named the grand prize winner in the Bill of Rights Institute’s national We the Students Essay Contest.

Cynthia Huang from Irvine, a student at the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, earned the $7,500 grand prize after her essay topped a field that included nearly 4,000 student entries.

The We the Students Essay Contest is conducted annually by the Bill of Rights Institute, a national leader in civics education. For this year’s contest, students were asked to consider how an understanding of natural rights and respect helps build a free society.

Huang, who participates on her school’s debate team and enjoys writing and history, skillfully argued that respect was necessary for citizens to achieve a full realization of their rights.

David Bobb, president of the Bill of Rights Institute, said that the We the Students Essay Contest drew nearly 4,000 entries from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and students living on United States military bases in Europe and the Pacific Islands.

“We believe that a quality civics education should equip students to live the ideals of a free and just society,” Bobb said. “The We the Students Essay Contest gives young people the opportunity to reflect on principles such as natural rights and respect that are foundational to freedom.”

The Bill of Rights Institute also announced that the following five students were selected as runners-up in the We the Students Essay Contest, and would each be receiving a $1,500 prize:

  • Ishan Chattopadhyay: Mountain View Middle School, Hampden Township, PA
  • Miles Erdly-Liang: Hunter College High School, New York City, NY
  • Alexander Mahdavian: Ridge High School, Basking Ridge, NJ
  • Margaret Piehl: Platte River Academy, Centennial, CO
  • Hannah Slisher: Rush-Henrietta Senior High School, Henrietta, NY
This article was released by the Bill of Rights Institute.