LRHS senior Jorja Heine (r) was one of three Manatee County Constitution Day winners

Savannah Adams – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – LRHS senior Jorja Heine was selected as one of the district’s top three students in a Constitution Day Essay Contest.

The Bradenton Rotary Club sponsored the contest for all high school students in Manatee County to commemorate Constitution Day.

The task was to write up to 1000 words and answer the question, “What does the Constitution mean to me?”

Heine wrote about her grandmother’s experience of coming to America as a Polish immigrant. She described her journey to the country and what it was like for her when she arrived.

Heine said, “My grandma’s story of having to leave everything behind in Poland to come to a new country really inspired me. I based my essay around her because her family decided to flee to America in a time of crisis because of the freedoms and opportunity the United States allows, as described in our Constitution.”

Heine’s essay was to show how the Constitution impacted her family.

“I wanted to express how grateful my grandma was to be given the opportunity to come to America and to be granted the freedoms we ensure. Her story is one that I wanted to share because it inspires me and describes why our country is such a ‘melting pot’ of religions and cultures,” Heine added.

On Sept. 19, the winners and their teachers were invited to Pier 22 for an awards luncheon where each of the three finalists were to read their essay.

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LRHS social studies teacher Kenneth Hanson, Heine’s teacher, joined her at the celebration.  

Hanson said, “Jorja is in my Advanced Placement (AP) United States Government and Politics class. She is quiet, studious and serious-minded.”

All AP Government students at LRHS submitted an essay.

“I entered this contest because my AP Government teacher, Mr. Hanson, told us about this opportunity,” Heine added.

She placed second and received a certificate, a medal and $500. She met the Manatee School District Superintendent, Cynthia Saunders, two school board members, as well as school district and community leaders.

“Her essay was terrific and personal. There were many, many other essays from LRHS that were very good and could have been finalists, but Jorja’s stood out with flowing prose and a great, personal story,” Hanson added.

Her essay can be found here.