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Jax Daily Record Monday, Aug. 15, 202204:23 PM EST

Federal court, attorneys sponsoring essay contest

High school students may enter to win cash prizes for themselves, their teachers and their schools.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The judges of the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida and Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association members are sponsoring the 2022 High School Essay Contest Celebrating Constitution Week.

The contest is open to students in grades nine through 12 in the counties in the Jacksonville Division of the Middle District: Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Hamilton, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee and Union.

This year’s essay prompt is related to Sept. 17, 1787, when delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the U.S. Constitution, which begins with the preamble:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Since its ratification, the Constitution has been amended 27 times. Contest entrants are asked to choose one of the 27 amendments to the document and, using relevant external sources, explain how that amendment promotes the goals the framers articulated in the preamble.

Essays must be submitted no later than noon Sept. 23.

Cash prizes are made possible by the lawyers and judges of the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida through the Bench Bar Fund.

The first-place winner will receive $2,000; second place, $1,000 and third place, $500.

The fourth- through 10th-place winners each will receive $50.

In addition, the teachers of the top three winners each will receive a $500 classroom grant and the school with the most qualifying submissions will receive a $1,000 grant.

If public health conditions permit, the top 10 students, their family members and teachers and a representative of the school with the most submissions will be recognized at a ceremony Dec. 7 in the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse.

The first-place winner will have the opportunity to shadow a federal judge for a day.

Visit for complete contest rules and additional information about how to enter.

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