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Fourth Circuit Recognizes 2019 Essay Contest Winners at Awards Ceremony

October 07, 2019
2019 Winners
From Left: Lorelei Loraine, Eli Kuperman, & Isabel Sans

On September 19, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recognized the winners of the 2019 Fourth Circuit Essay Contest during a Constitution Day 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 right to freedom of speech established for public school students in the Supreme Court case of Tinker v. Des Moines evolved in the 50 years since it was decided?"

The first-place winner, Isabel Sans, received a $2,000 prize for her essay on the impacts of culture and thinking on students' free speech. A junior at Edgewood High School in Edgewood, Maryland, Isabel was joined by her, parents Ashlee and Sergi Sans, sister, Ana, and brothers, Marc and Daniel.

The second-place winner, Lorelei Loraine, received a $1,500 prize for her essay on the transformation of student activism. A senior at Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, Lorelei was joined by her parents, Wendi and Greg Loraine.

The third-place winner, Eli Kuperman, received a $1,000 prize for his essay, "The Young and Mighty: The Empowerment of an Unheard Voice." A senior at Long Reach High School in Columbia, Maryland, Eli was joined by his parents, Annette and Scott Kuperman.

Winners with plaque and Chief Judge Gregory
From Left: Eli Kuperman, Lorelei Loraine, Isabel Sans, & Chief Judge Gregory

Chief Judge Gregory remarked: "One of the best ways to honor our Constitution is to honor our young people, the future. ... If they lose their enthusiasm, and their passion and purpose for our constitutional government and democracy, then we are lost. But I don't think we are lost at all; I think we are in good hands."

The celebration continued with a reception in the court's library and the presentation of the Fourth Circuit Essay Award Winners perpetual plaque.

Watch the awards ceremony video.

Read the winning essays.