Preliminary judging showed that a student from Saipan International School has topped the circuit level of a writing contest hosted by the U.S. District Court for the NMI, while a team from Saipan Southern High School topped the video category of the competition.
The contest was part of the 2019 Ninth Circuit Civics Contest for high school students in the western United States, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Over 1,300 young people entered the contest, which offers cash prizes and a chance to meet some of the nation’s eminent jurists and legal practitioners.
All of the 15 federal courts in the Ninth Circuit held local contests with winners going on to compete in the circuit-wide competition. In all, 45 essays and 26 videos were selected for final consideration by the Ninth Circuit Courts and Community Committee, which will announce the winners later this month.
In the CNMI leg of the competition, You Sun Lee of SIS won the writing competition. Second and third places went to Mount Carmel School students Matt Jason Moran and Bom Lee, respectively.
The video competition was won by the team of Chenille Anne Geronimo, Marjorie Joy Agana, and Nikka Nae of Saipan Southern High School, while second place went to the team of Roma Malasarte, Rainalyn Reyes, and Eddawn Labador, also of SSHS.
The contest had the theme “The 4th Amendment in the 21st Century—What is an ‘Unreasonable Search and Seizure’ in the Digital Age.” Students in grades 9-12 in public, private, and church-related schools and home-schooled students of equivalent grades were challenged to write an essay or create a short video on the topic.
The winners of each contest will compete in the circuit-wide competition. Each submission was brought to the Ninth Circuit Courts and Community Committee for consideration, which will be announced later this month.
At the circuit level, prizes of $2,000, $1,000, and $500 will be awarded to first, second, and third place winners in both the writing and video competition. In addition, first-place winner along with a parent/guardian will be invited to attend the circuit conference.
“Civics education is fundamental to help ensure that young people become knowledgeable citizens who understand and participate in our democracy. We are extremely pleased to have had so many students from many different places in the circuit participate,” said U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino of San Diego, who chairs the Ninth Circuit Courts and Community Committee.
The Ninth Circuit covers the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, the U.S. territories of Guam and the CNMI.