Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has announced the names of the winners of the 2018 Maine Constitution Essay and Poster Contest. The annual contest allows Maine students from grades kindergarten through 12 to participate, with older students submitting essays regarding the Maine Constitution, voting and democracy; and younger students creating posters reflecting Maine history or symbols.
“The essay and poster contest is a great opportunity for students to reflect on the wide spectrum of Maine’s identity, from our traditional industries to the iconic animals that roam our woods and waters,” said Dunlap. “We congratulate the winners and hope that all of the students gained a deeper appreciation for their state through their participation.”
The essay contest is for students in middle school and high school. It is divided into two categories:
The theme for grades 6-8 is “The Maine Constitution.” Damon Wilson, a seventh-grade student in Helen Beesley’s class at Windsor Elementary School in Windsor, received top honors in this category for his essay entitled “The Right to Bear Arms: The Bond.”
The theme for grades 9-12 is “The Importance of Voting and Democracy.” Teona Sok, a 12th-grade student at Gorham High School in Gorham, took first place in this category for her essay titled “Why Voting and Democracy is Important.”
The poster contest, open to students from kindergarten to grade 5, includes two categories, with a theme of “Maine Symbols” for grades K-3 and “Maine History” for grades 4-5.
Abby Wood, a third-grade student at Belgrade Central School in Belgrade, received top honors for her symbols poster, which depicts a singing chickadee, a moose with textured antlers, pine trees and a “super-fruit” blueberry, complete with a cape.
Rowan Keller, a fourth-grade student in Susan Hasson’s class at Holy Cross School in South Portland, took first place for his poster depicting two ships engaged in the naval Battle of Machias.
These students and their classmates are invited to view the state's original 1820 Constitution at the Maine State Archives in Augusta – a special honor, as it is not regularly removed from the storage vault for viewings.
The posters were judged on April 18 by three members of the Maine Legislature who volunteered their time: Sen. Rebecca J. Millett (D-Cumberland), Rep. Matthew G. Pouliot (R-Augusta), and Rep. Matthew A. Harrington (R-Sanford). To learn more about student programs and view winning entries from this year’s contest and past contests, visit the Secretary of State’s Kids’ Page.