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Home » Young Voices Matter

Young Voices Matter

The MoCo Student would like to thank the fifty-strong applicants who submitted an entry to our inaugural ‘Young Voices Matter’ Essay Contest. We are greatly impressed by the personal and critical stories brought to us in the past month, touching on subjects from PARCC assessments to the impacts of poverty on education. After several rounds of very difficult decisions, we have selected the winners below:

First Place: Zander Phillips of Richard Montgomery High School — “The Safety and Comfort of Trans Students”

Second Place: Stella Ho of Sherwood High School — “Only you are restricting us”

Third Place: Colin McLaughlin of Damascus High School — “Why do students dread coming to school?”

Honorable Mentions: Florina Lam of Wootton High School — “On PARCC Assessments”

Bess Bloomer of Walter Johnson High School — “The Crime of Innovation Injustice”

Thank you again to everyone who entered! The winners will be contacted in the following week.

Please click here to submit your essay. All submissions are due by June 1, 2015 at 11:59pm. Winners will be announced at and during the second week of June.

Contest question: What is an issue affecting MCPS students that you feel strongly about? Can you think of a solution to it?

Eligibility Requirements: Contest participants must be currently enrolled in a MCPS middle or high school (grades 8 through 12).


  • Essays must have between 500 and 1,000 words.
  • Essays should not include the participant’s name.
  • Participants are encouraged to seek help with ideas from others, but may receive no outside help with writing or editing.


  • Essays will be judged based on originality, ability to persuade, and writing style.
  • There will be three main prizes, with up to $100 in value per prize. The MoCo Student will publish winning essays upon the winners’ consent.

Advice from the Judges:

Present a problem you see in your school system, and then try to eloquently analyze it and consider a few possible solutions. Everyone can find something to improve upon. Get creative, be persuasive, and approach a topic from your own unique perspective. We hope you have fun thinking about this!

Click here to see the Young Voices Matter contest flier!