Winners of the 2012 First Amendment High School Essay Contest, from left: Samuel Savitz, Rita Ping Newman and Olivia Rowley.
Samuel Savitz, a junior at Greenwich High School, won first place in the 2012 First Amendment High School Essay Contest sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Connecticut. Second place went to Rita Ping Newman, a senior at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering in Stamford, and third to Olivia Rowley, a senior at Newtown High School.
The winners were announced and prizes awarded by Jeremy Paul, dean of the University of Connecticut School of Law, at the annual Milton Sorokin Symposium on Tuesday. The symposium is sponsored by the ACLU Foundation and the law school.
This year's essay topic was bullying and free speech: A new Connecticut law requires schools to prohibit bullying, including communication that causes “emotional harm.” Explain whether the mandate to stop bullying can be reconciled with the right to freedom of speech and support your argument.
Andrew Schneider, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, noted that the student essays addressed the same complex and difficult questions that the adult experts on the symposium panel tackled Tuesday. Dean Paul congratulated them for writing at the level of college students.
Sam Savitz, the first place winner, participates in the Debate Club, Israel Club, and "We The People" Constitutional Law Competition team at Greenwich High School. His academic interests include foreign languages and political science. Outside of school he is on Greenwich Crew's varsity team and on the board of the local chapter of United Synagogue Youth. He plans to study international relations in college and hopes to have a career in foreign service.
Rita Ping Newman, who won second place, is a math and science tutor at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering in Stamford, a member of the school's debate team and a volunteer at Stamford Hospital. Rita plans to study mechanical engineering and industrial design with the goal of designing disaster relief housing for humanitarian purposes.
Olivia Rowley, who won third place, plays alto saxophone and is very active in the Newtown High School band program. She's a member of the marching band, the jazz band, and the pit orchestra. Writing is one of her passions. She will attend Tufts University in the fall, and plans to study international relations and Spanish with the goal of joining the Peace Corps.
The essay contest and the symposium are legacies of the Center of First Amendment Rights, which merged with the ACLU of Connecticut in 2008. For more information about either, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- April 18, 2012