April 12, 2021
NORTH NEWTON, Kan. – The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Central States announces the regional winners of the annual high school essay and video contest. The contest is open to Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and other Anabaptist youth of high school age and to all youth who attend Mennonite high schools within the United States and Puerto Rico. Youth were required to write a four to six-page essay on one of three topics – gun violence, immigration or police reform and racial justice.
Titus Roesler, a senior at Freeman Academy in Freeman, South Dakota won first place for his essay, “Gun Violence: It’s Time to Take Action” winning the top prize of $100. Angel Hernandez, a senior at Freeman Academy received second place for her essay, “Gun Violence – How can we restrict it.” Third place was won by Charles Hu, also a senior at Freeman Academy. Hernandez and Hu received monetary awards of $75 and $50 respectively. All three essays will advance to the national level of the contest.
The judge of the contest was Donovan Tann, English Professor and the Language Arts chair at Hesston College, in Hesston, Kansas. When asked about the experience of judging the essays he said, “As I read through the essays and letters, I appreciated seeing how these young writers connected their research and faith commitments to some of today’s most pressing issues. Their work demonstrates the value of considering multiple perspectives, which is particularly important in our polarized climate.”
The three winning essays have been submitted for competition in the national essay contest. The MCC Washington Office will announce winners by the end of April. Through this contest MCC encourages youth to explore the relationship of faith and public policy as well as increase awareness for the advocacy work of MCC’s Washington office. To learn more about the work of MCC’s Washington Office, see mcc.org/washington.
A special note of thanks to Freeman Academy’s English teacher, Clara Beseman for making this essay contest a part of her curriculum.