Kentucky students win McConnell Center essay contest
(May 31, 2011) — Ten Kentucky students take top honors in a McConnell Center-sponsored essay contest.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Ten Kentucky middle and high school students have taken top honors in an essay contest on American heroes, earning cash and other awards from the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville.
Oliver Stutsman, of Louisville's St. Francis High School, took first prize in the senior division (grades 9-12) with his essay, "Alexander Hamilton: A Man of Innovation, Leadership, and Political Will." He will receive a $350 cash prize and a McConnell Center book collection. His teacher, Brett Paice, will receive a $100 gift certificate.
Jonathan Patterson, of Frankfort Christian Academy, took first prize in the junior division (grades 5-8) with his essay," Ronald Reagan." He will receive a $350 cash award and a McConnell Center book collection. His teacher, Lonnie Lewis, will receive a $100 gift certificate.
All essay entrants will receive free advance copies of the McConnell Center's forthcoming publication, "Hero Tales from American History," which will be publicly available in the fall.
Awards and essay finalists include:
Senior Division (Grades 9-12)
- First Place: Oliver Stutsman, "Alexander Hamilton: A Man of Innovation, Leadership, and Political Will," St. Francis High School; $350 cash prize; Teacher: Brett Paice
- Second Place: Nathaniel Davis, "A Martyr for Liberty" [Captain Nathan Hale], Seneca High School; $250 cash prize; Teacher: Stephanie Anderson
- Third Place: Andrew Segal, "Louis Brandeis: A Hero," DuPont Manual High School; $100 cash prize; Teacher: Betsy Belle
- Honorable Mention: Jonathan German, "Abraham Lincoln: An American Hero," Glasgow Christian Academy; $25 cash prize; Teacher: Laura Smith
- Honorable Mention: Rachael Bivens, "Generosity Leads to Success!" [Andrew Carnegie], Seneca High School; $25 cash prize; Teacher: Stephanie Anderson
- Honorable Mention: Stacia Bivens, "The Man with the Big Ideas" [Frankin Roosevelt], Seneca High School; $25 cash prize; Teacher: Stephanie Anderson
Junior Division (Grades 5-8)
- First Place: Jonathan Patterson, "Ronald Reagan," Frankfort Christian Academy; $350 cash prize; Teacher: Lonnie Lewis
- Second Place: Mason Shelton, "Let's Roll" [Todd Beamer], Trigg County Middle School; $250 cash prize; Teacher: Christina Ethridge
- Third Place: Gaeron Gruber, "Teddy Roosevelt, an American Hero," Bernheim Middle School; $100 cash prize; Teacher: Jennifer Faith
- Honorable Mention: Nikole Seay, "My American Hero is..." [Nathan Hale], Bernheim Middle School; $25 cash prize; Teacher: Jennifer Faith
The competition was sponsored by the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, which has awarded scholarships to more than 200 Kentucky high school students since 1991. The nonpartisan center helps prepare young Kentuckians to be future leaders and encourages public discussion on major political issues.
The center has sponsored the essay contest since 2000. Essays were judged by a nonpartisan panel of students, faculty and community leaders who evaluated the works on literary quality, seriousness of topic, effectiveness of argument and quality of research.
For more information, contact Malana Salyer, the McConnell Center's civic education coordinator, at 502-852-8811.