The Capitol Dome--regular editions

Summer 2014

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Congratulations to the 2 013 winners and to all those who took the time to compose and submit entries. The next M aking D emocracy Work Student E ssay Contest will be announced soon. D uring the May symposium, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society presented awards to the two first place winners of the 2013 Making Democracy Work Student Essay Contest, sponsored by Express Scripts. Andrew Tan, a student at La Entrada Middle School in Menlo Park, CA, won first place in the junior division (grades 6-8) with his essay, entitled "Democracy: Cohesion between People and Government." "America has survived and struggled through adversities to become one of the longest living democracies in the world," he observed, "because of its strong commit- ment to the Constitution, impartial application of the law, and unrestricted information from varying political opinions." Richard Alec Merski, a senior at James Madison High School in Vienna, VA, won first place in the senior division for his essay, "The Duties of Democracy: Reflections on a Citizen's Rights and Responsibilities," which reminds us of the cost of defending the rights enjoyed by citizens of the United States. "Liberty is never free," Merski writes. "The American demo- cratic experiment remains a fragile test of freedom against the threat of tyranny. To endure, it will need to be nurtured with dedication, vigilance, and the unrelenting resolve of its citizens to assume individual responsibility for safeguarding their enviable rights." Each student received a cash prize of $1,000 and a trip with their parents to accept the award and tour the historic sites of Washington, DC. In Merski's case, since he and his fam- ily reside in the area, he was awarded a trip to Boston. Each student's school also received a $1,000 award. In the junior division, Fafa Abena Nutor, a seventh-grade student at Kilbourne Middle School in Worthington, OH was awarded second place and earned a cash prize of $500. Her award- winning essay, "America: Freedom and Responsibility," reminds us of the cost of defending the rights enjoyed by citizens of the United States. The third place winner, Claire Carol Knutson of Chetek, WI, is a sixth grade student at Chetek-Weyerhaeuser High School/ Middle School; she earned a cash prize of $250. In her essay, "Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities of a U.S. Citizen," she reminds us how important it is to understand the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. In the senior division, Mahishan Gnanaseharan, a tenth-grader from West Orange, NJ who attends St. Benedict's Preparatory School in Newark, NJ, was awarded second place and earned a cash prize of $500. His essay, "Practicing Our Rights: A Historical Imperative," highlights the role of the individual citizen throughout American history. The third place win- ner, Seung Ho Lee, earned a cash prize of $250 and is an eleventh-grade student at Ridge- wood High School in Ridgewood, NJ. His essay, "Civic Virtues of Rights and Responsibili- ties," reminds us that "with each right we have, we have a corresponding responsibility to protect it." Student Awards Presented The essay contest winners with their families and USCHS President Ron Sarasin (center). Richard Alec Merski is second from left; Andrew Tan is second from right. 3

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