HANNAH LEFFINGWELL

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Best High School Essay: Hannah Leffingwell, 17, lives in Centennial, Colorado. Next year, she will pursue her intellectual interests at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she plans to double major in English and French. She enjoys cooking, sewing, writing, and spending time with her family and friends. Hannah hopes to become a novelist after graduating from college.

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BAILEY GABEL

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Best Middle School Essay: Bailey Gabel, 11, is from LaFayette, Colorado and a ranch girl at heart! She lives on a working ranch with her parents and younger sister. Hobbies include singing, showing livestock in 4-H and competing in Little Britches Rodeo. Her favorite saying is “American by birth and Cowgirl by the grace of God.”

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BROOKE WADE

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Brooke Wade, 17, Best High School Essay Winner, is a homeschooled senior from Tampa, Florida. She has a passion for American providential history and the Constitution and aspires to be a constitutional lawyer. Over the past two years, she has actively participated in moot court competitions, arguing 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendment issues and achieving Best Petitioner Oralist and Semifinalist at the Washington College of Law competition. She participates in speech and debate at the national level, placing and achieving three National titles in Extemporaneous and Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Brooke loves reading books on political theory and history.

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EVELYN HANKS

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Evelyn Hanks, 14, Best Middle School Essay Winner, is a homeschooled student from Garner, NC. Evelyn enjoys reading, creative writing, piano and guitar. She is involved in debate club. Other hobbies include bead work, duct tape crafts, and crochet. Evelyn has one older sister and one younger brother. She is active in her church, where she is a volunteer in the children’s ministry. Evelyn’s favorite subjects at her homeschool co-op are Science and Shakespearean Drama.

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BOBBIE BRAMLETT

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Bobbie Bramlett, 82, Best Senior Essay Winner, is a native of Oklahoma. She and her husband, Bill, have lived in Colorado the past six years. She is active in her local P.E.O. Chapter, plays mahjong, and likes to walk and play golf. Bobbie’s great granddaughter, Halley Moak, was a Constituting America winner in 2010, and inspired her to learn about the Constitution!

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CAROLINE CLAUSON

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Caroline Clauson, 16, Best High School Essay Winner, is a resident of Xenia, Ohio and is a student at Xenia Christian School. She has studied classical violin for seven years and enjoys playing fiddle music on her violin and mandolin. Caroline runs track and cross-country and participates in choir and orchestra. This semester she is being home-schooled while her family lives in Washington, D.C. where her father is temporarily working. Caroline is thinking of pursuing a career in journalism following high school.

Interview: https://vimeo.com/87252539

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TIFFANY CURTIS

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Tiffany Curtis, 15, Best Middle School Essay Winner, resides in Smithville, Ohio. Since Preschool she has gone to Wooster Christian School, and will now go on to Smithville High School. Her favorite subjects are Reading, Art, and History. She served as Student Council President during her 8th grade year at Wooster Christian. Tiffany has one older sister and two supportive and loving parents. Her favorite activities include reading, listening to music, playing with her dog, and spending time with friends. Tiffany hopes to honor and bring praise to God through whatever she is putting her heart into.

Interview: https://vimeo.com/86156650

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RON MEIER

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Ron Meier, 71, Best Senior Essay Winner, moved to Cumming Georgia from Colorado in 2011 to be near two grandchildren. He retired after a career in investment analysis & management, personal finance, accounting, banking, and financial education, during which time he authored many articles and seminars for adult learners. Volunteering in his church and community, studying history, traveling, writing, and especially spending time with his family now occupy much of Ron’s daily time. Ron grew up in Ohio and lived in Texas, where his three children were born and two have returned to live. He is a graduate of West Point, an Army Vietnam Veteran, and earned both CPA and CFA designations during his business career. Ron leads a Constituting America Patriot Club in Cumming; its members work with teachers and students to encourage students to compete in contests which help them learn more about American history, culture, and heritage.

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SOPHIA MAGGIO

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Sophia Maggio, 16, Best High School Essay Winner, is a resident of Everett, Washington, and a student at the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA). She has played select soccer for seven years and is a captain of her high school cross country team. She loves art and spends most of her free time drawing, reading, and writing. Sophia is the oldest of four children and owns several pets, including a cat and two dogs. She is the co-president of her high school community service club, and enjoys doing volunteer activities with animals, kids, and the elderly. While Sophia has not yet decided what career path she will pursue in college, she has considered becoming a clinical anaplastologist and a medical illustrator.

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ROSALVA CRUZ HERNANDEZ

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Rosalva (Rosie) Cruz Hernandez, 15, Best Middle School Essay Winner, is from Bonita Springs, Florida. Rosie is an eighth grader at Bonita Springs Middle Center for the Arts. As a sixth grader, Rosie received the Take Stock in Children’s Scholarship which will pay for her tuition to any Florida state college. Rosie has attended and been actively involved with New Horizons of Southwest Florida, an afterschool tutoring and mentoring program, since first grade where she also sings in the Super Kids Choir. Through New Horizons, Rosie has participated in several volunteer activities in her community. Rosie is active in her church and is part of the worship team. Rosie has been on the A/B Honor Roll every semester in middle school. After graduating from high school, Rosie would like to attend Florida Gulf Coast University and pursue a career as a social worker. Rosie wants to be able to help children who have suffered abuse.

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NANCY ARNOLD

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For thirty years as a school teacher, Nancy K. Arnold, shared her love of America and its history with her students. Though now retired, she continues to share this love through the children’s books she writes. Her goals continue to be to excite children about American history, and to help insure that they understand the values upon which our country was founded. To that end, she is often found presenting a program in a school or civic organization, dressed as Martha Washington or a pioneer woman. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution has recognized her for her contributions to children’s books on American history, and she has also been given their Women in the Arts Award. Her book, Patriotic Pups, won the Arizona Glyph Award, and in 2015 she received a Silver Will Rogers Medallion Award for Pioneer Pups. In 2011 she was honored to receive the Arizona Federation of Republican Women Teacher of the Year Award. She is thrilled to be the Senior Essay Award winner from Constituting America, and to represent such a wonderful organization. Nancy and her husband enjoy activities with their four grandchildren, as well as sailing on their sailboat off the southern California coast. She is presently in the early stages of writing her third book, and it looks like she will be in need of a Pilgrim costume for future school visits!

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MADELINE PELTZER

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Madeline Peltzer, 17, is from Phoenix, Arizona. She is the oldest of three girls and has been homeschooled all her life. Madeline has been involved in politics since she was in a stroller attending district meetings and rallies with her parents. She is a longtime volunteer with her state’s family-policy and legislative council and has worked on numerous political campaigns. She is an alumna of Patriot Academy, TeenPact Leadership Schools, and the Leadership Institute’s Youth Leadership School. In 2012 and 2014, she was blessed to win first place in Stossel in the Classroom’s national essay contest, a project of Fox Business News’ John Stossel, and was featured twice on his television program in New York City. The experience sparked an interest in free-market economics, and she has since become involved with organizations like the Mercatus Center, the Institute for Humane Studies, and Americans for Prosperity. In addition to studying classical piano for the past nine years, Madeline enjoys competitive figure skating, classical ballet, and jazz dance. She volunteers with her homeschool honor society, helps teach ballet classes to children with Down syndrome, and has assisted in teaching figure skating to students of all ages. In addition to church, she and her family are active with Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). Madeline is still deciding upon a specific college and major, but she hopes to pursue her interests in classical liberal arts, government, history, and economics as well as piano and dance.

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LEAH RENNER

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Leah Renner, 14, Best Middle School Essay Winner, has grown up in the south suburbs of Chicago. She currently lives in Worth, Illinois where she is home schooled. Leah enjoys basketball, running, and writing for her blog. Leah participates in her church youth group and various activities through her homeschool cooperative. After finishing high school, she anticipates mission work and possibly a career in writing or voiceover.

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ANTHONY BESHIRS

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Anthony Beshirs is currently a freshman at Garland High School who learned about Constituting America’s “We The Future” contest when Janine Turner came to his middle school to speak. Anthony is inspired by the way the Constitution helps us in our every day lives. He says he learned from entering the contest that “great things can come if you put in enough time and effort.” Anthony is the recipient of an award for keeping his GPA at 3.5 or higher and is a full IB student. Anthony enjoys playing the tuba in his high school band, exercising and playing video games in his spare time and aspires to become a chemical engineer and help people through his findings.

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OCTAVIA TAYLOR

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For over 45 years, Octavia Taylor inspired her students in the Camden High School classroom to achieve their personal best in their lives, as well as in volleyball, tennis, drill/dance team and gymnastics. She was a role model that many students followed into their own teaching professions. Her popularity is evident when she is greeted frequently by former students with hugs and squeals! She was born and raised in Arkansas, graduated from University of Central Arkansas in Conway when it was Arkansas State Teachers College, and as a young mother, began teaching. With five grown children and nine grandchildren, she continues to lead and teach in the community – even at the age of 90! Octavia chairs the DAR Constitution Week celebration in Ouachita County, and personally participates in the “Bells Across America” bell ringing at her St. John’s Episcopal Church. She yearly writes letters in the newspaper promoting the Constitution, and gets Proclamations declared by the Mayor and the County Judge. She serves on the Oakland Cemetery Preservation Committee of the Ouachita County Historical Society, and is a character twice a year in the Cemetery Walks. She is often photographed in her elaborate costumes, made by one of her daughters. School children are treated to her stories of “tales past” during the Camden Daffodil Festival, as well as when on school tours to the McCollum Chidester House, where she is a docent. When Octavia is not teaching history, she is involved in Garden Club projects, promoting Music Club opportunities and, during the summer months, teaching water aerobics in the city pool. She has served as state DAR Conservation Chair and is a Master Gardener, reflecting her interest to promote butterfly and bird friendly yards in her own landscaping. She has been involved in planting thousands of daffodil bulbs all over town.

Octavia is considered “ageless” to her many friends, and enjoys intergenerational friendships far and wide. To keep up with Octavia, one has to put on running shoes and be willing to get involved in a project. She puts her words into actions and motivates others to do the same.

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ROBERT MOAK

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Bob has been an equine veterinarian for 42 years. He attended Louisiana State University and Oklahoma State University. He is a race track veterinarian, and spent the majority of his career at paramutual race tracks in Louisiana and California. He has been semi-retired since 1999, and lives in Estes Park, Colorado with his wife, Linda. They have three children and two grandchildren. Bob became acquainted with Constituting America seven years ago when his granddaughter won Best Poem in the inaugural year of the program, and has been an avid fan ever since!

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CLAIRE LEDFORD

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Claire Ledford, 12 is the winner of the Middle School Essay Contest. She is a homeschooler from Sanford, North Carolina. She enjoys reading, writing and watching movies. Some of her favorite books are A Girl of the Limberlost, the Serafina series and Cracker. She also loves to travel and is working on a travel challenge to visit 15 countries, all 50 states, all 100 counties in her state by 2020. She is about half way there. Previously, she lobbied for a homeschool bill that was passed and she was able to attend the bill signing with the Governor. She is part of NC Junior Historian through her History Hounds Club and has won numerous statewide contests. She is very excited about winning this contest and teaching others about the Constitution.

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BEN PHIBBS

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Ben Phibbs is a 17-year old homeschool junior from North Carolina who plans to attend Patrick Henry College in preparation for a career in constitutional law. Inspired by his parents to revere the treasured tradition of American Republicanism, Ben has, from a young age, admired the rich history of the Founding and laudable structure of the Constitution. For enrichment and service, Ben participates in debate and moot court, tutors at a local Christian school, and leads his church youth band.

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KIRA MATHIESEN

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Kira Mathiesen is 18 and currently in Boston, Massachusetts studying Biochemistry on a Pre-Med track. She is originally from Santa Cruz California, where she was first inspired to get active politically in her community, and now participates in many marches and peaceful protests on the east coast. She is working hard to make sure her and every person’s voices are heard while also studying hard to get her degree in 2020.

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