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2022 Civics Contest Winners Announced

The U.S. District Court and U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California hosted a Civics Contest for high school students in grades nine through twelve (Local Contest), which  was held in conjunction with a contest sponsored by the Ninth Circuit for high school students in the Western United States (Ninth Circuit Contest). 

The theme of 2022 Ninth Circuit Civics Contest was: “The First Amendment and the Schoolhouse Gate: Students’ Free Speech Rights.”  Students were asked to address: “What are students' free speech rights – and responsibilities – on and off campus?”   

The following students, all of whom attend Arcadia High School in Arcadia, submitted the top essays:

  • First place – $1,000:  Mary Leung;
  • Second place – $750:  Keshwanth Puligulla;
  • Third place – $500:  Ella Yee;
  • Fourth place – Honorable mention:  Rachel Wang; and
  • Fifth place – Honorable mention:  Annalise Xiao.  

The following students submitted the top videos:

  • First place – $1,000:  Jesus Montes of Rubidoux High School in Jurupa Valley;
  • Second place – $750:  Grace Yue of Oxford Academy in Cypress; 
  • Third place – $500:  The team of Makaela Valdez, Angela Vargas, and Amber Gregory of Pacific High School in San Bernardino;
  • Fourth place – Honorable mention:  Viren Mehta of Oxford Academy in Cypress; and
  • Fifth place – Honorable mention:  The team of Lesly Perez and Esmeralda Morales of La Puente High School in La Puente.

The first, second, and third place essays and videos were automatically entered into the Ninth Circuit Contest to compete with winners from all other districts in the Ninth Circuit.  Winners of the Ninth Circuit Contest will be announced in late May or early June.  Ninth Circuit Contest winners will receive $3,000 (first place); $1,700 (second place), and $1,000 (third place).  If the winners of the video portion of the competition are part of a team, then they will split the total cash prize.  If a student wins the Local Contest and the Ninth Circuit Contest, that student would receive up to a total of $4,000!

Additional Recognition:  In addition to cash prizes, first-place winners of the Local Contest and a parent/guardian are invited to attend the 2022 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Big Sky, Montana.