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Civics Contest Winners Are Announced

Young people from Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Washington were selected the winners of the 2017 Ninth Circuit Civics Contest, an educational outreach effort sponsored by the federal courts. “Not to Be Forgotten: Legal Lessons of the Japanese Internment” was the theme of the contest, which focused on the incarceration of Japanese-American citizens at the outset of World War II and its relevance today as our government seeks to protect the nation from terrorism. Students were challenged to write an essay or produce a short video focusing on legal decisions which sought to strike a balance between national security and civil rights at a time of great uncertainty.

Winners in the essay competition were:

1st place – Olivia Tafs, a freshman at West Anchorage High School in Anchorage, Alaska;

2nd place – Andrew Stahl, a senior at Bainbridge High School on Bainbridge Island, Washington; and

3rd place – Brandon Shi, a junior at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, California.

Winners in the video competition were:

1st place – Joshua Riel, a senior at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada;

2nd place – Tamara Sato and Emily Wu, both juniors at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii; and

3rd place – Brianna Chapman, a sophomore at North Coast Preparatory Academy in Arcata, California.

The winning essay will be read and winning video shown on July 17, 2017, during the opening session of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in San Francisco. Both of the student winners are expected to attend the opening session.

More than 1,000 young people entered the contest, which was open to students in grades 9-12 in public, private and parochial schools and home-schooled students of equivalent grade.

In all, 45 essays and 20 videos were selected for final consideration by the Ninth Circuit Courts and Community Committee. Blind judging was employed in both the preliminary and final rounds.

Cash prizes of $2,000, $1,000 and $500 will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners in both the writing and video competition.

Prize money and travel costs for the winners are funded through attorney admission fees collected by the federal courts to fund educational programs for the bar and community.

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