2012 USCHS Student Writing Contest Winners, “Making Democracy Work”



The Society is pleased to announce the winners of its 2012 Making Democracy Work Student Essay Contest.


In the Junior Division (Grades 6-8) the winners are:

First Place—Omar Qureshi, Greenspun Junior High School, Henderson, NV

Second Place—
Catherine Elizabeth Lamey, St. John Neumann Catholic School, Miami, FL

Third Place—Lauren Nicole Pitzer, Fossil Hill Middle School, Fort Worth, TX


The winners in the Senior Division (Grades 9-12) are:

First Place—Vaishnavi Rao, Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego, CA

Second Place—James Yan, Weston High School, Weston, MA

Third Place—Ruby Guo, High Technology High School, Morganville, NJ


Society President Ron Sarasin congratulated the winners, “These essays reflected the careful and serious consideration the authors had given to the topic.  We were very pleased with the number of submissions we received and by the overall quality of the essays.  Congratulations not only to the prize winners but to all who participated in the contest.”

The first place winners in each division win a $1,000 cash prize and a trip with their parents or guardians to Washington, D.C. for the official presentation of the award.  Second place winners receive a cash prize of $500 each and the third place winners each receive a cash prize of $100.

Several hundred entries were received from states throughout the nation.  Many Members of Congress publicized the contest on their web sites and in press releases.  Several classes made writing essays for the contest a class project.  Each entrant was required to have a teacher (or parent if home-schooled) as an advisor for the essay.

Judges for the contest were Richard Baker, Senate Historian Emeritus; Lloyd Neale Cosby, Treasurer, U.S. Capitol Historical Society, U.S. Army, retired; George C. Garikes, Upper School Director, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School; Richard N. Holwill, former ambassador to Ecuador; Cokie Roberts, ABC News and NPR; and James Thurber, Professor of Political Science, American University.  A generous grant from Amway Corporation helped make the contest possible.