Essay Contest Winners

Texas Secretary of State Gwyn Shea announced the winners of the statewide student essay contest entitled, "What Voting Means to Americans" at a press conference in the Texas Capitol at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, November 8th, 2002. The contest, announced in newspapers statewide, drew more than a thousand entries by the October 21st deadline.

Student's essays were divided into 3 categories: grades K-5, grades 6-8, and grades 9-12. Finalists were selected by a panel of judges, comprised of Micheal Hodges, Executive Director of the Texas Press Association, Nancy McMurrey, formerly with the Texas Cable and Telecommunications Association, and Nelda Wells Spears, Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector.

The Office of the Secretary of State would like to thank the nearly 1,400 students who submitted an essay--your essays were wonderful, and the judges had a really hard time making the final selections! "I'm so pleased to see the level of interest generated among Texas students for our essay contest. Although these students are not yet voters, they exude an enthusiasm for our nation's democratic ideals and system of free elections that should serve as an example to all Texans," said Secretary of State Shea.

On that note, the nine winning essays from the essay contest entitled "What Voting Means to Americans" are currently on display on the ground floor of the Capitol rotunda. The essays will be on display until Friday, November 22nd, 2002. Please find below the photographs of the exhibit. Congratulations Winners!

K-5 essay image displayed in capitol
6th-8th essay image displayed in capitol
9th-12th essay image displayed in capitol
picture of several essays displayed in capitol

The following are the list of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, along with their essays, in each of those categories. Congratulations winners!!!

K-5 Winners

John Anthony Bojanski
Grade 3, Col. Santos Benavides Elementary School, Laredo

Rachel Waldman
Grade 5, Beth Yeshurun Day School (Private), Houston

Catherine Martin
Grade 5, A. Gutierrez
Elementary School, Laredo

6th-8th Grade Winners

Veronica Page
Grade 7, Thorndale ISD, Thorndale

Rachel Heydemann
Grade 8, El Paso Jewish Academy (private), El Paso

9-12 Grade Winners

Andrew Moore
Grade 12, Plano West
High School, Plano

Kayla Halfmann
Grade 12, Wall ISD, Vancourt

Sylvia Y. Pina
Grade 12, Dr. Leo G. Cigarroa
High School, Laredo