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Fourth Circuit Announces Winners of 2021 High School Essay Contest

August 03, 2021
2021 Essay Contest

In his inaugural address 60 years ago, President John F. Kennedy uttered a profound and enduring challenge regarding citizenship: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” As Kennedy recognized, citizenship carries with it both rights and responsibilities.

What are the responsibilities of citizenship, and how do those responsibilities support and reinforce the rule of law?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is pleased to announce the winners of its 2021 High School Essay Contest.

First Place--$2,000 Award: Huda Haque, a rising senior at Panther Creek High School, Cary, North Carolina. 
Read the First Place Essay

Second Place--$1,500 Award: Taylor Kohn, a rising senior with South Carolina Association of Independent Homeschools, Columbia, South Carolina. Read the Second Place Essay

Third Place--$1,000 Award: Eli Bailey, a recent graduate of Oakton High School, Vienna, Virginia. Read the Third Place Essay

The contest, which ran from January 29, 2021, to May 28, 2021, was open to current 9th through 12th graders in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The court received excellent essays from students in all five states.

Students were asked to share their thoughts on "What are the responsibilities of citizenship, and how do those responsibilities support and reinforce the rule of law?”

The winning essays will be read during a virtual Constitution Day program scheduled for September 17, 2021, at 2:30 p.m.

The court extends its appreciation to its distinguished panel of judges for their work in reviewing the essays and selecting the top three submissions:

  • Claire Raj, J.D., Associate Professor of Law and Director, Education Rights Clinic, University of South Carolina School of Law.
  • Tara Casey, J.D., Professor of Law and Director, Carrico Center for Pro Bono & Public Service, University of Richmond School of Law.
  • Carolyn A. Dubay, J.D., Executive Director, North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission.
  • Marilyn Ogburn, J.D,, Attorney, Baltimore, Maryland.  
  • Patricia Proctor, J.D. - Founding Director, Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy, Marshall University.