Kabir and Spink Finalists in State of the Union Essay Contest

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Thursday January 30, 2014

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recently announced the winner and top finalists in his annual State of the Union essay contest for Vermont high school students. Two South Burlington High School students, seniors Raihan Kabir and Delaney Spink, were among the twenty finalists selected from across the state. A panel of five Vermont teachers judged the essays. 

For the last four years, as the president prepares his State of the Union speech, Sanders’ essay contest has asked Vermont’s high school students to write an essay of 250 words to 500 words about their view of the “state of the union.” 
This year, 380 students from 26 high schools throughout Vermont submitted essays on how they view the state of the union. Twenty essays were selected as finalists.

Sanders called to congratulate the top essay writers. “The discussion about where our country needs to go in the future should not be limited to Washington,” said Sanders, who serves on the Senate education committee. “We also need to hear the voices of young Vermonters. They are the future of our country and they need to be thinking about how we can best address the problems we face.”

In addition to entering the essays of the winner and the finalists into the Congressional Record, Sanders will meet with the 20 finalists during a roundtable discussion to discuss the issues they wrote about in their essays. The roundtable has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on February 1 at Vermont Public Television in Colchester.

“The students were not only passionate about the future of their nation, but well versed in issues both large and small,” said Roberta Steponaitis, one of the five Vermont teachers who judged the contest. “For those people who think the youth of today are not involved in America’s future, I strongly suggest they read the winning essays in this competition.” Essays can be found at www.sanders.senate.gov/download/state-of-the-union-sotu-top-20-finalists?inline=file.

Since Sanders first held his State of the Union essay contest four years ago, more than 1,200 students from schools throughout Vermont have written essays addressing such important issues as the declining middle class, climate change, gun control,health care reform and the rising cost of a college education.