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Fourth Circuit Recognizes Essay Contest Winners at Awards Ceremony

October 24, 2018
IMG_0744On September 26, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recognized the winners of the 2018 Fourth Circuit Essay Contest with a program at the Lewis F. Powell,Jr. Courthouse in Richmond, Virginia.

Students in grades 9 through 12 throughout the five states within the circuit were asked to share their thoughts on the question: "How has the Fourteenth Amendment impacted education in the 150 years since it was ratified and what impact will it likely have in the future?"

The first-place winner, Jonas Lorincz, received a $2,000 prize for his essay "The Fourteenth Amendment and the Rights of Students." A rising sophomore at Marrriotts Ridge High School in Marriottsville, Maryland, Jonas was joined by his step-father, Andrew Nava, and grandparents, Crystal and Donald Bagley.

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The second-place winner, Owen Peck, received a $1,500 prize for his essay on policy shifts in education. A recent graduate of Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond, Virginia, Owen was joined by his father, Robert Peck. 

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Chief Judge Gregory also recognized the third-place winner and recipient of a $1,000 award, Rachel Sexton, a rising junior at Holston High School in Damascus, Virginia.

"These young scholars...have given their skills to pen and paper that we might read their thoughts, be warmed by their ideas and enriched by their vision," stated Chief Judge Gregory. Referring to the story, "The Devil and Daniel Webster," he continued, "If I was asked 'How stands the union,' I can safely say that the union is standing with your great work and thoughts."

He also shared a personal story related to Shelley v. Kraemer and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  When he purchased his first home, a former restrictive convenant based on race was still visible on the papers. For him, it is a reminder of the importance of the Constitution "and how powerful it is in the lives of real people every day and will hopefully ever remain."

After expressing his thanks to all those in attendance, Chief Judge Gregory invited the students to assist with the unveiling of a bust of John Marshall, on loan from the John Marshall House. 
The celebration continued with a reception in the court's library and the presentation of a plaque to memorialize the annual winners of the Fourth Circuit essay contest.

IMG_0712Watch the video of the ceremony at this link: Awards Ceremony Video
Read the winning essays at this link: Awards Ceremony Brochure