Emily Hall– Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – High School seniors across Manatee County submitted to district officials essays celebrating the 232nd anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution. The competition came with a $300 prize.
LRHS students Mariette Tomlinson and Joey Robertson won second and third place respectively.
The essays were required to be 800 words or less with the prompt, “What the Constitution of the United States Means to Me.”
LRHS social studies teacher Kevin Merriman was in charge of narrowing down the essays from his American government classes. He was not particularly interested in essays that were informative. Instead, he looked for essays that demonstrated a personal connection between the constitution and the student.
“They stood out above all the others,” Merriman said. “They were all good, and they were all personal connections to the constitution.”
After choosing the top 20 essays in his classes, Merriman sent them to LRHS Principal Dustin Dahlquist and a committee. They chose Tomlinson and Robertson, along with senior Daniel Spino, as the top three that would be judged against essays from other Manatee County schools.
The top five finalists, chosen by the school board, were all rewarded with a luncheon celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at Bradenton’s Pier 22.
Merriman noted that contests like these are important to encourage students to write and learn more about the constitution.
“The constitution itself is important,” Merriman said. “The constitution is central to our government. It’s central to our way of life. I teach (students) how it affects them every day -our government, the constitution, the rights that we have- how important it really is. The essay teaches not only the writing skills but also the history of our country and the government, and why it’s important.”