Eboni Jenerette, (age 27) born in El Paso, now resides in Conroe Texas. Eboni grew up in Spring Texas, and after attending Sam Houston State University, returned to her home district, Spring ISD, desiring to sow back into what she believed invested so much into her. She was named 2019 District Teacher of the Year, and holds her title at her campus of 5 years, Twin Creeks Middle School. Eboni teachers 8th grade American History, and serves as the department chair of the history team at her campus, and is a club sponsor for multiple extracurricular organizations. Eboni seeks to continuously find new ways to engage in her content of specialty, that will encourage all students to master historical and civil content as she believes both are breathing documents within themselves. Eboni has a true love for history and feels that ALL students should be informed of who they are, where they come from, and how they hold the power to impact their own lives both now and in their futures!
Reed Cooksey is nine years old and was born in Oregon. He has lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico for two years. He is already an uncle to five kids! He likes to snow ski, hike, camp, play with circuit boards with his brother in law, make movies on the computer, and play with Legos. He loves Jesus and likes to spend time with his family.
Click Here for Reed’s Winning Poem!
Remie is a 7 year old 2nd Grader at Copperwood Elementary School in Glendale,Arizona. He is a very inquisitive, friendly young boy who loves to learn new things, but most of all, he absolutely loves to talk to anyone and everyone. He also loves to read books, draw and sings constantly. He’s a member of Grammy Award Winning-Phoenix Boys Choir. We would like to acknowledge Montessori Center,his preschool,who helped us nourish his young mind. Special mention to Mrs. Cristal Wooten, Remie’s current teacher, for working and encouraging him. Remie is a great kid who loves to play and watch TV with his younger sister, Ariella. Both have thrived coming from Philippine and American cultures. We all love him so much!
My name is Isabel Crews. I have written many essays for numerous contests including Constituting America. One essay is called “What Makes America Great” for Veterans of Foreign Wars, and I received second place. Two other essays were for Daughters of the American Revolution and a leadership essay for MSHSAA. Not only have I entered essay contests, but I have also entered other contests such as math for Scholastics, first place for a video contest for Council for Drug Free Youth, and second place two different times for an art contest. Currently I am working on a science contest for Engineer Girl as well as practicing for Youth Bible Drill that I am enrolled in. Some of my other accomplishments are having a 4.0 in Middle School for my 6th grade year and so far for my 7th grade year. I also participate in cross country and track for Middle School as well as am part of track club in the summertime. As part of my family’s track club, my sisters and I have been named All American National Junior Olympic Medalists for two years in a row now.
Thank you for the opportunities that are ahead of me for winning the Constituting America
essay contest. I am so excited for the trip and all that it will hold.
Read Isabel’s Winning Essay Here.
Angela Zhong is a senior at Cypress Woods high school and one of twelve World Schools Ambassadors for the 2019 USA Debate Development Team. She is also the Debate Captain at her school and regularly places in the Top 10 at State and National tournaments in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Her understanding of philosophy through debating about moral dilemmas enabled Angela to become a finalist for the American Philosophy Olympiad as well. Additionally, she competes in FBLA, where she championed Texas in Financial Mathematics and finaled in Website Design. Outside school, she is the District Governor for Rotary International in the Greater Houston Area where she partnered with NEWGEN Peacebuilders. Through her service, she was a finalist for the Exemplary Student Service Award in the National Speech and Debate Association and a recipient of the Young Heroes Award by TD Bank and the National Liberty Museum. In her free time, she enjoys figure skating and reading the news.
Read Essay Here.
Dorothy McCormick is a high school junior from Delaware. She began learning piano at age four and now plays acoustic and electric guitar as well as ukulele along with taking vocal lessons. Despite all this musical training, she originally wanted to make her mark on the world through Medicine or Biochemistry. However, after discovering what a tremendous impact music can make, she decided to pursue a career in songwriting. Outside of musical pursuits, she enjoys drawing and painting as well as participating in Speech and Debate. She competed as a quarterfinalist in the 2019 American Legion National Oratorical contest and finished 4th at the National level in the Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest. Although she enjoyed expressing her passion for government in these events, she was particularly excited to combine it with her love of music for the We The Future contest. At the end of 2019, she began releasing her original music under the artist name “Darthy” and hopes to attend Belmont University as a Songwriting major.
Hannah is a 16-year-old Junior at Cedar Hill High School. She pursues her academic goals aggressively and currently boasts a #2 ranking in her class with rigorous Advanced Placement courses. She is actively involved in National Honor Society and National Society of High School Scholars. Outside of academics, Hannah spends her time perfecting her craft in dance and theater arts. She is currently Junior Lieutenant for the award-winning Cedar Hill Highsteppers drill team and also trains and performs with NG Professional Dance Company. Her most notable accomplishments are dancing with the American Drill Select Team to Osaka, Japan to showcase for the international Drill team competition. She also models professionally for Rebel Athletics! Hannah is also a very responsible big sister in a military family of 5 siblings. With her dad typically deployed, she helps her mom with her 3 younger siblings with her big sister studying performing arts in her sophomore year at AMDA LA college. Hannah is so excited to be honored with this award and looks forward to continuing her pursuit of becoming an entertainer in the film, dance and arts industry!
Leena Mehendale, daughter of Neelesh and Kimberly Mehendale, is a graduate of The Hockaday School and is currently attending MIT as a member of the women’s soccer team. In her senior year of high school, Leena served as President of the Hockaday Social Impact Board, Captain of Varsity Cross Country, Captain of Varsity Soccer, and Captain of Varsity Track and Field. Having been a member of the Social Impact Board since freshman year, Leena dedicated much of her time to community service. She served as Co-Chair of the Hockaday Nonprofit Fashion Show, which raised over $5,000 for Genesis Women’s Shelter, and co-founded her own nonprofit run2learn, which has raised over $5,000 for United to Learn. In the realm of athletics, Leena earned 12 varsity letters over 4 years across 3 sports: cross country, soccer, and track and field. As the first Hockaday student to captain 3 teams in 1 year, she helped lead her teams to a 2nd place SPC finish in cross country as well as 2 SPC championships – 1 in soccer and 1 in track and field. Individually, Leena earned all-SPC honors in all 3 sports in each of the 3 years that the championships were held (SPC Championships were canceled in fall 2020/spring 2021 due to COVID-19). She also earned the MVP Award for Varsity Soccer, MVP and Coaches’ Award for Varsity Cross Country, and the Coaches’ Award for Varsity Track and Field. In the classroom, Leena earned Cum Laude Society honors and was a member of the Head of School List for all 4 years of high school.
Gabe Maggio is currently in his first year at Villanova University. He is pursuing a degree in Criminology and hopes to declare a double major in Spanish his sophomore year. At Villanova, Gabe is involved in multiple clubs and intramural sports teams. Gabe graduated from Everett High School with honors and was heavily involved in academics, athletics, and extra-curriculars. He maintained a 3.8 GPA throughout his high school career, making honor roll all four years. He was selected for the honors leadership program and served for three years. Through the leadership program, Gabe was able to give back to the community through food drives, senior-citizen dances, special needs events, and other community-based functions. He was elected as ASB President in spring of his junior year and was an active member of Torch Honor Society starting sophomore year. Outside of the classroom Gabe was a committed athlete, participating in both baseball and football all four years. He served as a football captain his junior and senior seasons, while also being selected as a baseball for three straight years. Following his senior football season, Gabe was selected as an All-Wesco South Quarterback of the year. At Villanova, Gabe hopes to continue his service through helping the underprivileged youth in Philadelphia. He is striving for a career in law and criminology in an effort to fight systemic and institutionalized injustice.
A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Lily Sweet King is a freshman studying Integrated Marketing Communications at The University of Mississippi. She is a Provost Scholar, member of the MPower Leadership Team, 2018 U.S. Presidential Service Volunteer Award recipient, 2018 VFW State of Florida Scout of the Year, a GOLD award Girl Scout, a pledge of Pi Beta Phi sorority, and was named to the Fall 2018 Chancellor’s Honor Roll. She is the creator of the all-youth The Longest Table, a peer-to-peer event that brings students from all backgrounds together for dinner and dialogue. Last year, 120 students from all 12 area high schools attended the Leon County Longest Table. King was a mentor for this year’s chairs, with the event bringing together 250 students for civil discourse. This spring, with the help of several campus organizations, she will host The Longest Table at Ole Miss in the Grove to build unity, foster understanding, and spark change on campus.
Isabella Cring is a sophomore at Florida State University studying Sociology and Communications. In her free time, she’s involved in the radio station on campus (WVFS Tallahassee) working as the Assignments Editor and a DJ. She also works on campus as an RA. She loves songwriting on her trusty ukulele and can’t wait to record her winning song this spring.
Thanks Constituting America!
Vanesa Carrillo is a senior at Bel Air High School in El Paso, TX. She is also a part-time Community College student at El Paso Community College where she has earned over 30 college credit hours. Vanesa is the President of her Spanish Honor Society chapter and President/Co-Founder of her school’s first all-girls business empowerment club called JWIB. She has successfully completed a Congressional Internship with former Congressman Beto O’Rourke and is currently a Marketing Intern for the Nonprofit organization called Latinitas, where she manages all social media and outreach sites. Vanesa is also part of The College Board Youth Advisory Board, The Federal Reserves Dallas Bank Board of Directors and The El Paso Jr. Leadership Greater Chamber Organization. Vanesa has also taken time to conduct research with a doctorate professor in a 6-week summer camp at UT Arlington. Aside from school, Vanesa enjoys to write, sing as well as Volunteer for The Chamizal National Memorial Park. Vanesa plans on majoring in Marketing with a minor in Psychology at The University of Texas at El Paso.
My name is Alexandra Hernandez, and I was born in Venezuela. I came to the United States four years ago seeking for a better future. At the beginning, it was very hard to adapt myself to a new country and language, but with the support of my family and friends, I was able to make it.
As for today, I am a second-year student at the Honors College of Miami Dade, majoring in mechanical engineering. I have been able to be involved in my college community as the president of Engineers for a Sustainable World, an active member of Hermione’s Army, a club dedicated to activism, and as the Spanish and English editor of Urbana Arts & Literacy Magazine, the campus magazine. I am very grateful with the United States for letting me continue my education in this country and for giving me the opportunity to build a brighter future along with my family.
My name is Liorah Haynes and I am a seventh grader honors student attending Heritage Middle School in New Windsor, New York. I play the trumpet, sing in a school choir, usher at my church and do sports such as volleyball and soccer. When I’m older I aspire to be a veterinarian. A few years ago my parents took me to the Washington D.C memorial in a way to encourage me to know and honor the Constitution and the sacrifices made by others. I am thankful to all my family and friends who support me and to the people who made me who I am today.
Kim Rostick is a fourth grade teacher at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS in Tampa, FL. During her 17 years she has been part of a dynamic duo AKA team teaching, enhancing the learning experiences of students. Because all of us are smarter than one of us, she acknowledges the teaching partners she has had the privilege to work with including: Vickii Johnson, Allison Lester, Callie Brown, Megan Freda and Tara Novell. Kim’s teaching philosophy, reflected in the Constituting America lesson plan, is to provide students with two things they need most: walk and talk. As students learn to balance the stimulating and productive, they are provided with opportunities to be inquirers, practice active listening, collaborate, role play and to sit and think. In the spirit of the Founding Fathers and Mothers, students learn the power of words through poetry recitation and oral presentations and to speak loudly, clearly and distinctly. In addition to the head and hands, the development of the heart is crucial as well. With the goal of developing the whole child, lessons are infused with differentiation, Kagan Cooperative Learning, RULER social and emotional learning developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and The Four Pillars of Wellbeing curriculum. Kim has had the honor of serving as Spelling Bee Coordinator, Community School of the Arts Musical Theater Manager, and a teaching intern supervisor. Her recent awards include the Governor’s Excellence in Education Award, Allen Distinguished Educator Grantee, and the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program. Prior to Corbett Prep, Kim began her career in Atlanta, Georgia at Morningside Elementary School, mentored by Beth Burney and Flavia Gordon-Gunter. It was there she earned Teacher of the Year and later National Board Certification in Early Adolescence Social Studies/History. Kim is truly honored to have won this award.
Marie Li, 17, dreams every day of the wild possibilities and improvements scientific innovation can bring to her community and the ways they can be achieved. Excited by the potential of STEM, Marie dedicates herself towards serving the community through scientific innovation which provides her with challenging problems, new opportunities, and surprising solutions that she is more than happy to take on.
Outside of her scientific passions, Marie enjoys figure skating, fencing, exploring new perspectives through music and learning languages, painting with watercolors, constructing glass mosaics, and traveling.
Yet above all, Marie hopes to push the boundaries of human knowledge at a university by studying environmental engineering and material sciences while gaining an understanding of international relations to one day transform the current global resources landscape by formulating comprehensive solutions through scientific innovation.
Hi, my name is Kennedy Owens. I am in 7th grade and I attend Sergeant Smith Middle School in Tampa, Florida. In my spare time, I really like editing videos, drawing original characters, reading webtoons, and writing stories. What convinced me to make the “Constitution Coloring” business plan was so I could provide a resource for kids to learn about the Constitution in a fun way. Also, I wanted to make a product that kids could use even if they don’t have access to technology. I am again very thankful for this opportunity.
Watch Kennedy discuss her winning work, as well as her experiences with Constituting America, here!
More widely known as Jake the Signer on the internet, Jacob VanDerwerken is a sign language innovator focused on sharing goodness through his hands. Over the past few years, Jacob has created and shared videos in sign language on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram which have reached millions of people all around the world.
Jacob was raised in Tooele, Utah. After graduating high school, he served a two-year volunteer mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in southern Arizona. Jacob is currently attending Brigham Young University with his wife Emily. He is an active participant and leader in the BYU Men’s Chorus, which is the largest male collegiate choir in the nation. Jacob is studying Advertising with a minor in Family Life and an emphasis in American Sign Language.
Grace Cooksey is 12 years old. She likes hiking, reading, hanging out with family and friends, playing violin and piano, doing church activities, acting and singing. She has seven siblings and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Read Essay Here.
Lara Elkasri, age 10, is a fifth grader at Corbett Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida. Her favorite subjects include reading and math. She enjoys ballet, acrobatics and piano. Lara loves spending time with her sisters at home and is honored to receive this award.
Read Poem Here.
Noah Chaplin, 18, is a homeschool senior from a large military family of ten that currently lives in Fairborn, Ohio. Being a military brat, he has traveled through more than twenty-three states over the past ten years, either by moving or by vacationing. Due to high-functioning autism, Noah is very good at academics, excelling in subjects such as history and writing. History and writing, in fact, are his favorite subjects, as well as his aspiration to someday publish his own novel. Noah is currently taking dual enrollment courses at Cedarville University and plans to continue his education there in fall 2019 as a freshman; there, he will likely pursue a bachelor’s in computer engineering/science.
Read Essay Here.
Emily VanDerwerken, 20, spends her time solving problems with creative caution. From throwing ceramics on a potter’s wheel to designing and sewing her own wedding dress, Emily loves using her hands to create. Emily has been singing for as long as she can remember and started playing the guitar and writing songs a few years ago to counteract a busy school life. Above anything, Emily loves to make connections with people. Her goal is to share genuine emotion through her creative work now and throughout her life.
Emily is the 2017 Best College Song winner and the 2016 Best College PSA winner. She grew up in the quiet town of Vernal, Utah, but she now lives in Provo, Utah with her husband Jacob. Emily is a junior at Brigham Young University where she is pursuing an undergrad degree in Advertising with a minor in Family Life.
Madeline Peltzer is from Phoenix, Arizona and the eldest of three daughters. She is a sophomore at Hillsdale College in Michigan where she is majoring in politics and minoring in economics and journalism. A life-long political junkie, she interned on Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s reelection campaign over the past summer and for her state’s policy and legislative council in addition to working for Americans for Prosperity on their grassroots activism team. On campus, she is a reporter for the Hillsdale Collegian, the founder and president of the Hillsdale chapter of Young Women for America (a faith-based policy club that promotes a Biblical approach to the big issues of the day), and a representative on Hillsdale’s student government. She also volunteers as a cast member for the Liberty Princess Company for which she portrays Disney characters at local community events and fundraisers for underprivileged children. Madeline has won eight national essay contests including Constituting America’s high school essay contest in 2015, was First Runner-Up at Arizona’s Distinguished Young Women scholarship competition (formerly America’s Junior Miss), is a National Merit Commended Scholar, and was a member of the National Homeschool Honor Society all four years of high school. She hopes to pursue law school, intern for a Washington, D.C. think tank, and work in policy analysis, punditry, journalism, or public office. Madeline is an active member of her church, enjoys classical piano, figure skating, ballet and jazz dance, and considers herself a Disneyland enthusiast.
Watch Madeline discuss her winning work, as well as her experiences with Constituting America, here!
Tova Love Kaplan, 15, currently serves as the National Youth Director for Constituting America and is a two-time winner of the nonprofit’s “We the Future” contest. Her work with Constituting America has lead to incredible experiences at the Department of Education, White House, the United States Capitol, and Fortune 500 companies. Tova is heavily involved in academics, extracurriculars, and social justice causes as a member of the National Junior Honor Society, News Editor for the school newspaper, Executive Board member for her school’s Best Buddies International chapter, and a founder of Bake Sale for Justice’s first student chapter. This year, Tova introduced Chicago’s Mayor and Chicago Public Schools CEO at the back-to-school rally for the city’s 500 principals and also delivered opening remarks to welcome Anne Frank’s stepsister Eva Schloss to Chicago. Tova is a passionate public speaker interviewed frequently by media. She has been spotlighted in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, CBS2 Chicago, Chicago Magazine, Splash Magazines Worldwide, FOX4’s Good Day Dallas, and Chicago Parent for their 2018 year-end feature on kids in Chicago making the world a better place. Tova is a professional actor with featured roles at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Mercury Theater Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Paramount Theatre. Her commercial work includes videos and commercials for Second City Networks, Onion Productions, and the Wisconsin Dells tourism board.
Hello! My name is Wyatt Hensley. I am in 8th grade and live in Joplin, MO My favorite subject is American History. Acting is my passion. I want to be a director of films when I finish college. I am also involved with my church and my Boy Scout troop. One of my closest friends is my brother Jonah (also in the video) who shares my interests except for acting. We are really excited to be a part of Constituting America!
Chris Eshbaugh is a 17 year old from Temple, Texas, and is a part of band and theatre at his school. He has participated in at least 30 theatre productions in his life, and is a devoted member of the drum line in his high school’s marching band. His musical experiences in band and theatre have given him both instrumental and vocal talents, which have led to his passion for creating his own music. Chris plays the piano, drums, ukulele, and other various percussion instruments. With the ambition to continue writing more songs, he plans to attend Texas Tech University, with the ultimate dream to continue making music and being able to perform it live someday for everyone to hear.
Thomas Norton, 10, lives in Grapevine, TX. He’s a 4th grader at Grapevine Faith Christian School and lives with his parents, big sister, and dog, Molly. He has always loved art and enjoys drawing lifelike pictures as well as things from his imagination.
When he’s not drawing, he can usually be found playing Minecraft or creating something. He recently earned his black belt in karate and also plays baseball and basketball. He loves attending Bible club and looks forward to his weekly art lesson.
Thomas wants everyone to know his winning artwork of a Marine saluting the flag is his depiction of his grandpa who served in the Marine Corps for 23 years. He is truly honored to be selected as this year’s winner and knows his grandpa would be proud.