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NHS seniors win inaugural Constitution essay contest

Three Newton High School seniors were honored Wednesday evening in the NHS Media Center for their involvement in an inaugural Constitution essay contest.

Erik Kaufman (1st), Preston Vicenzi (2nd) and Cate Nembhard (3rd) were honored out of the pool of 8 students who participated in the contest earlier this semester.

The group had 750 words or less to answer the following question: What protections did the Constitution provide to prevent the establishment of a tyrannical government from either foreign and/or domestic threats?

Over a year and a half ago, local precinct committee person Mike Fellows approached NHS History/Government teacher Carson Matile with the idea. 

Judges, including several USD 373 school board members, reviewed the essays without knowing who the author was. Essays were scored and the top three winners received a cash prize for their placement, made possible by the Convention of States Foundation, the Harvey County GOP, Graber’s Ace Hardware and Axon Displays. 

Sen. Carolyn McGinn and representatives Avery Anderson and Stephen Owens presented the students with their prizes and spoke to the importance of the Constitution in our democracy.

The group hopes to expand the essay contest to include all Harvey County schools, but for now, the first-place trophy, donated by Newton city commissioner Rod Kreie, will remain at Newton High School.