Matthew McNey, 21, was born in Columbia, MD; however, he was raised in College Park, Burtonsville and Laurel. As a product of the American Dream he was instilled with strong religious convictions, hard work and dedication. He was not born into a rich family; his was a family best characterized as middle class, a family battling with drug addiction and alcoholism. Matthew goes to school and works full time with plans to go to Harvard Law and Harvard Business School to earn a JD and MBA, and to become a corporate attorney. He has been involved in politics since he was 13. He joined the Democratic Party when he was 16, and eventually became the President of the Maryland Federation of College Democrats.
Kori Caswell, 18, Best College Song Winner, is from Hannibal, Missouri, made famous in the writings of Mark Twain. She is now a freshman at Belmont University in Nashville, TN where she is a commercial double Bass major. Kori is in the honors program and is in the university’s symphony. Kori is well known in her home community with her work with literacy, history, the arts council and her church. Upon graduation, Kori plans to pursue a career as a professional musician.
Kenthia Farmer, 19, Best College Short Film Winner, is a sophomore from Memphis, TN. Her parents are Kenneth and Cynthia Farmer. Growing up in Memphis allowed her to be introduced, consistently, to so much history: from music to civil rights. Kenthia loves retelling history in various and creative ways using her artistic skills she acquired from her performing arts high school, Overton High. She currently attends the University of Miami. There, she studies business in hopes to become a successful entrepreneur upon graduation. Kenthia also minors in motion pictures.
Shelby Seymore, 19, Best College PSA Winner, has begun her sophomore year at Angelo State University this fall. She enjoys video production, art such as drawing and painting, reading about US history, and actively discussing the issues of the day. She is currently studying a major in Communications, specializing in Radio/TV/Film. She first began video editing when she was in seventh grade at Jayton ISD. Shelby aspires to have a career as a director, and her own show that includes teaching history, while relating it to current events.
Jacob Schliesman, 18, Best High School PSA Winner, is beginning his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, studying Media Arts and Game Development. Jacob was homeschooled in Kenosha, WI for over ten years, and took private drawing and animation lessons for about six years. He enjoys comic books, roleplaying games, and working on animation. Jacob hopes to one day work for a national gaming company.
Chasity Cagle, 17, Best High School Short Film Winner, is a native of Valdosta, Georgia. She attends Lowndes High School and presides over the SkillsUSA chapter where she competes in video production. Chasity is also involved in the community through Moody Air Force Base Youth Programs, a center for military teens. She hopes to become a speech pathologist and continue her video editing skills in college.
Colton Hinderliter, 16, Best High School Short Film Winner, lives in Marietta, Georgia and attends Keystone National Online High School. He is active in the arts of all sorts, from performing on stage to writing screenplays and poetry. He is an intern at the historic Earl Smith Strand Theatre working in arts administration. He also volunteers his time at his old elementary and middle schools’ drama clubs. Colton is very happy to combine his love of history and filmmaking in his first film.
Annie Nirschel, 17, Best High School Song Winner, is a senior at the Academy of Information, Technology and Engineering in Stamford, Connecticut. Her interests include film production, art, and musical composition. She plays the piano, guitar, ukulele and banjo. Annie has been singing for years; her first performance was the National Anthem at a Bridgeport Bluefish minor league baseball game in Connecticut when she was 7. She sang in front of 15,000 people at Battery Park in Manhattan for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and for over a million people at the 2011 “Salute to Israel” parade, also in Manhattan. Annie has done voice over work for Blue Jean Teddy and College Board.org. For the past two years she has worked as a student reporter for “ItsRelevant.com” an online local news service in Stamford, Connecticut. Annie lives at home with her parents, brothers, two sisters and three yappy dogs.
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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Jessie Liz Clement, 13, Best Middle School Song Winner, is a musically gifted singer-songwriter from Lafayette, Tennessee. She is the youngest of four children and is homeschooled through Classical Conversations’ Challenge program. Self-taught on the guitar, piano, ukulele, and mandolin, Jessie writes songs about life and the world around her. Her debut album, “Hey World,” was released in 2011 and new songs can be heard at www.jessieliz.com. Jessie’s Creator has definitely blessed her with special musical talents and she seeks to honor Him and bless others with the gifts she’s been given. Besides music, Jessie enjoys hunting, arts and crafts, and playing on a volleyball team.
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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Bethany Cooksey, 11, Best Poem Winner, Grades 3-5, lived in Japan as the daughter of missionaries until the age of five, when her family moved to beautiful McMinnville, Oregon. She was born in Nagasaki on the island of Kyushu and is the fifth of eight happy homeschooled children. She loves Bible Bee, Antonin Dvorak’s music, reading, singing in the church choir, drawing, playing with her baby brother, cooking, sewing, writing, piano, and cello.
Abigail Olschewski, 7, Best Poem Winner, Grades K-2, just started the second grade at Promontory School of Expeditionary Learning. She lives with her parents and two older brothers in the beautiful little town of Brigham City about 60 miles north of Salt Lake City in the mountains of Utah. She loves to read, sing, whistle, and make art projects. She is a Brownie in the Girl Scouts and active in her church. She loves to play outside, and with her friends.
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Preity Chavan, 9, Best Artwork Winner, is a social and fun loving 4th grader at Crabapple Crossing Elementary School in Peach State- Alpharetta, Georgia. She lives with her parents and her older sister. Preity likes to sing, dance and ride her bike. Her favorite subjects at school are Math, Science, Music and Art. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano. Preity loves to play and sing patriotic songs including the Star Spangled Banner. Her favorite song is “This land is your land, this land is my land……”.