Woodland student among state winners

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The Tennessee Secretary of State's office is proud to announce the winners of an essay contest introduced last fall to encourage students to be actively engaged citizens. The contest, along with the Student Mock Election, is part of the office's civic engagement program.

Students were asked to write about voting with length requirements varying by grade level. Winners will receive a TNStars 529 College Savings Program scholarship and a trip to the State Capitol this spring. First place winners receive a $500 scholarship, with second and third place winners receiving $250 and $100 respectively.

"I'm thrilled we had nearly 250 submissions from across the Volunteer State. The quality of these students' essays exceeded our expectations just as participation in the Student Mock Election did in November," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "Our long-term goal is for all these programs to increase civic engagement throughout Tennessee."

2016 Civics Essay Contest Winners
Ninth - 12th Grade:
First: David Lee, Germantown High School (Shelby County)
Second: Vishnu Reddy, Franklin High School (Williamson County)
Third: Destiny Cogdill, Rhea County Academy (Rhea County)
Honorable Mentions: Ashley Tomlinson, Meigs County High School (Meigs County)

Sixth - Eighth Grade:
First: Ruby Jimenez, Moore County High School (Moore County)
Second: Cate Frist, Harding Academy (Davidson County)
Third: Allie Boatman, Maury Middle School (Jefferson County)

Third - Fifth Grade:
First: Isabella Balturshot, Guild Elementary School (Sumner County)
Second: Andrew Bechtel, Poplar Grove School (Williamson County)
Third: Samuel Latham, East Elementary School (Madison County)
Honorable Mentions: Audrey Grant, East Robertson Elementary School (Robertson County); Jacob Mahan, Lara Kendall Elementary School (Lake County); Jacilyn Visor, Thelma Barker Elementary School (Madison County)

Kindergarten - Second Grade:
First: Katie Peachey, East Elementary School (Madison County)
Second: Maggie Gibson, Ezell-Harding Christian School (Davidson County)
Third: Emily Parker, Woodland Elementary School (Cannon County)
Honorable Mentions: Jillian Balcunas, Thelma Barker Elementary School (Madison County); Calleigh Kemp, Robert F. Woodall Elementary School (Robertson County); Cooper Logan, Fairview Elementary School (Blount County)

In November, 165,968 students from 479 schools across Tennessee voted in the first ever statewide Student Mock Election. A majority, 53.1 percent, voted for Donald Trump.

The program also has lesson plans created by Tennessee teachers. The goal is to offer an easy way for educators to incorporate civic engagement and citizenship into their curriculum.

For more information on the essay contest, Student Mock Election or lesson plans visit: sos.tn.gov/civics

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