PRESENTING THE WINNERS OF CONSTITUTING AMERICA’S WE THE FUTURE CONTEST
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BEST COLLEGE PSA

Emily Kitzmiller, Utah
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Emily Kitzmiller

Best College PSA Winner

Emily Kitzmiller, 18, Best College PSA Winner, grew up in Vernal, Utah. She just completed her first semester at Brigham Young University and is excited to see where her education takes her. Hands-on creativity is her favorite way of expressing herself, especially singing and writing. She hopes to continue learning and finding opportunities to share what she loves.

BEST COLLEGE SONG

Isaiah Ross & Cameron Gwynn, Georgia
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Isaiah Ross & Cameron Gwynn

Best College Song Winners

My name is Isaiah Ross! I am currently a Freshman at the University of Georgia, where I am earning a degree in biology. I also march trumpet in the Redcoat Band! My hometown is Chatsworth, GA. My friend Cameron and I are honored to accept this scholarship.

My name is Cameron Gwynn, and I'm a first year Music Theory and Music Composition student at the University of Georgia. I'm primarily a trumpet player, and I've been playing piano for three years. I've always loved writing music, so I really enjoyed getting to write a song for Isaiah to sing.


BEST COLLEGE ENTREPRENEURIAL WINNER

Cody Woods, Georgia
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Cody Woods

Best College Entrepreneurial Winner

Cody Woods is a Sophomore at Morehouse College majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Atlanta, GA. Cody shared his story with us. In my life, there have been three teachers that have taught me so much, and those teachers are Adversity, Pain, and Failure. When I was young I was ridiculed and misunderstood because I was different, but according to worldly standards I was well off because my family was doing well. Until the economic recession in 2008, and I was stripped of what I thought of as my normal. I lost my home, all of my possessions, and my family as I knew it, and we had to do whatever it took to survive. Eventually, I hit bedrock and at my bedrock is where I found God, and he found me in the scrap yard of disparity, and Changed my life and my perception. My teachers turned from Adversity, Pain, and Failure to Perseverance, Grace, and Favor. Know I am operating in my purpose and my gift of Glorifying him, and changing the world through my mind and heart for entrepreneurship, which has now brought me to Morehouse College. During my matriculation I have been Blessed to go to China to get an international perspective on life, become one the heads of a student organization as a freshman, which has taught me leadership skills, and intern at a notable record label that has allowed me to reinvent my mind for entrepreneurship, and Love for my fellow man. Where I am at now is far from the beginning because I know through my works and Faith I will be able to go places and help people beyond own dreams and understanding. The sky is not the limit, it is just the beginning.

 

BEST HIGH SCHOOL STEM WINNER

Destiny Dukes, Virginia
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Destiny Dukes

Best High School STEM Winner

Destiny Dukes, 18, was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, but raised in Norfolk, Virginia. Destiny is currently a freshman at Tidewater Community College. She has always had a fascination in United States history and stays current with the politics of her country. She is the second oldest of five and has a total of eight animals at home, four cats and four dogs. In the Fall of 2017 she plans on attending her second year at TCC hoping to get her associates degree in Science. Her mom is her inspiration and her dad is her hero. Both of them fully support her in her aspiration of having a career in law enforcement as a lab technician.

 

BEST HIGH SCHOOL PSA

Kira Mathiesen, Massachusetts
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Kira Mathiesen

Best High School Essay / Petition

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.

 

BEST HIGH SCHOOL PSA

Grace Floring, Ohio
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Grace Floring

Best High School PSA

Grace, 18, is a senior at Rutherford B. Hayes High School and will be attending Case Western Reserve University in the fall to major in Aerospace Engineering. She is very involved in her school, such as with National Honor Society, International Thespian Society, and Tri-M Music Honor Society. She is excited to continue involvement in the community with the transition into college.

 

BEST HIGH SCHOOL PSA WINNER

Xavier "Jack" Duffy, Wisconsin
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Xavier "Jack" Duffy

Best High School PSA Winner

Jack Duffy is a freshman at Newman Catholic High School in Wausau, Wisconsin. At the age eleven he discovered filmmaking and it has been his passion ever since.  Jack loves to free ski, run track, and play soccer, but he spends most of his time watching movies, script writing, shooting, editing, and working to earn money to buy more film equipment. After high school graduation he plans to go to college and study film.  In the meantime, Jack continues to make films starring his friends, neighbors and his seven brothers and sisters.

 

BEST HIGH SCHOOL SONG WINNER

Isabella Cring, Florida
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Isabella Cring

Best High School Song Winner

As a senior at Western High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Isabella Cring, 17, is already a veteran in vocal performance and local theater. With musicals, open mic nights, coffee houses, civic organizations and even a lead singer at the Renaissance, where she performs weekly in her father's church, she has scattered the seeds of her talent and has begun to harvest a great crop of appreciation. About a year ago Isabella added song-writing to her pursuits, using both the piano and the ukulele. Isabella also leads the South Florida Cappies (Junior Theater Critic) and is a food bank and mentoring volunteer.

 

HIGH SCHOOL SONG HONORABLE MENTION

Cameron Graves, Virginia
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Cameron Graves

High School Song Honorable Mention

My name is Cameron Alexander Graves.  I was born on Oct 30, 1998 in Portsmouth, Virginia and moved to Alexandria, VA in 2007.  I am currently a senior at T.C. Williams High School and plan on going to college to get my masters's in Business.  Ever since the age of 14, I've been a huge fan of Hip-Hop music.  So much of a fan, I took up the art form myself and began writing raps and poems.  Over the years, I've developed my own distinct style, and have received local recognition because of it.  This positive feedback has only deepened my passion for the art, which is why one of my top goals is to become one of the best lyricists to ever live.

 

BEST HIGH SCHOOL ENTREPRENEURIAL WINNER

Greg Volynsky, New Jersey
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Greg Volynsky

Best High School Entrepreneurial Winner

Greg Volynsky, 17, the best entrepreneurship winner, is a native of New Jersey and a student at the Bergen County Academies. Throughout his high school career, Greg has continually explored various fields; engineering research became an entrepreneurial experience, passionate discussions turned into formal debate. Greg is an active method of the Junior Statesmen of America and coaches debate at the Bergen County Debate Club. For Greg, discussions are both intellectually stimulating and plain interesting; but they are not enough. Recently, Greg began to volunteer on a local city-wide campaign, where he works directly with the candidate to draft policy proposals. Furthermore, Greg realized that most media coverage is political commentary, not actual policy analysis; so Greg launched a website – Politiscope News (PolitiscopeNews.com), which aggregates policy-related articles and analysis. Greg hopes to continue to turn conversations into actions wherever he goes and to apply the entrepreneurial approach to government, for it is by thinking creatively and pursuing policy beyond the constraints of politics that we can harness innovative solutions to help real people.

 

BEST MIDDLE SCHOOL ESSAY

Claire Ledford, North Carolina
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Claire Ledford

Best Middle School Essay Winner

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.

BEST MIDDLE SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHY

Andrew Cooksey, Oregon
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Andrew Cooksey

Best Middle School Photography

Andrew Cooksey, 12,  enjoys rafting, target shooting, road trips, skiing, basketball, politics, camping, and other outdoor activities. He lives near Portland, Oregon. He is homeschooled, plays in an orchestra, and his favorite subject is Greek.  He also enjoys history and math.  He likes to try out new Mexican restaurants with his brothers.

 

BEST MIDDLE SCHOOL STEM WINNER

Victoria Gruen, California
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Victoria Gruen

Best Middle School STEM Winner

Victoria Gruen, 13, lives in California. Her favorite subject in school is early American history. Pounding her soul out on the piano is one of her favorite things to do. She likes needlework, and is currently sewing time-period clothing. Among her favorite authors are Austen and Alcott; her favorite books are Pride and Prejudice and Little Women. When Victoria grows up, she wants a career in politics. As a firm believer in freedom and the Constitution, she wants to defend the principles that our Founding Fathers held - among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

 

BEST MIDDLE SCHOOL ENTREPRENEURIAL

Quentin Fulton, Georgia
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Quentin Fulton

Best Middle School Entrepreneurial

Bio coming soon.

 

 
BEST MIDDLE SCHOOL SONG

Sarah Learned, Florida
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Sarah Learned

Best Middle School Song

I am homeschooled and I live in Sanford, Florida. I love to sing and write songs, Other things that I enjoy are drawing, swimming, filming, and dancing.  I play the ukulele and piano. I love animals and have two dogs and a turtle.  I like to hangout with my friends and we usually make songs and stories together! I would like to be a voice over actress, writer, or a singer songwriter someday!

MIDDLE SCHOOL SONG HONORABLE MENTION

Halley Moak, Colorado
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Halley Moak

Middle School Song Honorable Mention

Halley is a native Coloradan, and is an 8th grade home schooled student.  She has studied piano, music theory and plays the ukulele.  Halley keeps busy with her nine chickens, two Schnauzers and three horses.  She enjoys riding the trails, participating in the rodeo and is a committed hunter/jumper equestrian athlete.  Halley loves history and is a past Best Elementary Poem winner.

CONRAD AINSLIE BAUMAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ARTWORK WINNER

Lirit Kaye, Arizona
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Lirit Kaye

Best Ementary School Artwork

Lirit Kaye, 10, lives in Phoenix, Arizona.  She attends Benchmark Elementary School and is in the fourth grade.  Her favorite subjects are math and art.  Drawing always has been Lirit's passion. She has taken art classes at the Carrie Curran Art Studios in Scottsdale and from Mrs. Blanco in the Benchmark after school program.  Lirit has earned a Blue Belt in Karate and likes to sing and dance.  She enjoys constructing Lego sets and playing golf with her older brother.  Lirit is truly honored to have won this award.

 

BEST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL POEM

Lucas Elliott, North Carolina
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Lucas Elliott

Best Ementary School Poem

Lucas Elliott is a second grader from Wake Forest, North Carolina. His favorite subjects in school are math and reading. Since he is the youngest of four children, he is well versed in making sure his thoughts and ideas are not ever lost in the shuffle. He loves to entertain and is excited about all forms of media. He hopes to have a forum to share his vision with the world in the future. He also loves to play basketball, and tinker around the house with his tool set. He had many questions during this past election season and enjoyed writing his poem as he was learning about how our government was designed.

 

BEST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL POEM WINNER

Rebecca Canales, Texas
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Rebecca Canales

Best Elementary School Poem Winner

Bio coming soon

 

 
CONRAD AINSLIE BAUMAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ARTWORK HONORABLE MENTION

Marin McKinney, Missouri
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Marin McKinney

Elementary School Poem Honorable Mention

Bio coming soon

 

 
BEST TEACHER LESSON PLAN WINNER

Jesse Bluma, California
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Jesse Bluma

Best Teacher Lesson Plan Winner

I am from Monarch Beach, California and currently a world history teacher at Serrano Intermediate School in Lake Forest, California.  The students in my classes are fascinating people and I am confident in their abilities to learn, grow, and make valuable contributions to our society.  That is why I collaborate with other teachers to do cross-curricular activities, share stories about my travels, my entrepreneurship in the food business, and take interest in what students have to say about history and its lessons.  Fundamentally, I promote student ownership for learning.  Treasuring our Constitution, practicing what we preach, and knowing our place in history is our guiding light.  Students in my classes do brilliant things, have excellent curiosities, and learn so much.  We go on fun adventures, perform engaging puppet shows, do hard work, visit museums, and celebrate remarkable accomplishments throughout history at our World's Faire.  Certainly, my hope is students come away knowing life loves a student.

 

BEST TEACHER LESSON PLAN WINNER

Oletta Branstiter, Texas
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Oletta Branstiter

Best Teacher Lesson Plan Winner

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, but have lived in Texas for over 30 years. I've been married for almost 35 years, we have two grown children and two grandchildren. After homeschooling my daughter, I started working at our neighborhood elementary school as a 4th Grade Aide, then a para-librarian. I've worked as a para-librarian at Sue Crouch Intermediate School in Crowley ISD, since 2012. It's a two-year campus for 5th and 6th grade, so every other year I teach Our Nation's Foundations to supplement Social Studies curriculum. I'm also known in local circles as the Tap-Dancing Librarian for hosting an after school Tap Club.

 

BEST SENIOR ADULT ESSAY WINNER

Robert Moak, Colorado
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Robert Moak

Best Senior Adult Essay Winner

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!

 

BEST SENIOR ADULT ESSAY WINNER

Octavia Taylor, Arkansas
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Octavia Taylor

Best Senior Adult Essay Winner

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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