Students urged to enter Sanders’ essay contest

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has launched his 11th annual State of the Union essay contest.

Each January, the president of the United States delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, which outlines priorities for the coming year.

According to a news release, “Because Sen. Sanders knows that great ideas can come from everyone - not just those in power - and wants to encourage young people to become engaged in the political process, he created the State of the Union Essay Contest.”

The contest is an opportunity for Vermont high school students to describe a major issue facing our country and propose what they would do to solve it. The 250-to-500-word essays can center on any issue of national importance.

A volunteer panel of Vermont teachers will judge the essays on the students' ability to articulate an issue and propose a solution, without regard to the students' political views.

Sanders will enter the essays of the 10 finalists into the Congressional Record, the official archive of the U.S. Congress.

“I started this essay contest 11 years ago to help our students be actively engaged, no matter where they stand on the issues,” said Sanders, who serves on the Senate Education Committee.

“This year, our state and nation face a health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a renewed fight for racial justice,” Sanders continued. “To my mind, the unprecedented nature of this time makes it more important than ever to hear perspectives and innovative ideas from you, our young people.”

More than 4,600 students from high schools throughout Vermont have written essays in the past 10 years about issues like climate change, access to mental health care, and the rising cost of college.

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