Barren Co. High School student wins Secretary of State essay contest
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Students throughout Kentucky entered into the annual Kentucky Secretary of State essay contest. The state-wide essay contest was open to students in grades 9 through 12.
Below was the prompt for the 2020 essay contest:
“What changes should Kentucky make to its election system, and why?” Please limit your suggestions to those which would not require a constitutional amendment and your essay to 1,000 words.
On Friday, Secretary of State Michael Adams presented a Barren County High School student with an award for their essay submission.
“One of the jobs I have under the law is to annually conduct an essay contest for high schoolers, I get to pick the subject matter of the essay. And I thought the best question to ask would be, what should we change about our election system?” said Kentucky Secretary of State, Michael Adams. “I actually started this contest before we ran our bill this year, our election reform bill that changed our elections on a permanent basis in very positive ways. But I wanted to get some good ideas from our young people, get their perspective. And we got some really great essays, we got essays from all corners of the state. And we’ve got winners from all corners of the state. And so this week, I’m traveling around presenting those awards, including today to Malena Hughes here in Barren County.”
“I decided to enter my essay into Secretary Adam’s contest because politics is something, that even though it’s not something I want to do for my career, I’m still pretty passionate about. And the topic really appealed to me, it was about what changes Kentucky could make to its electoral process,” said 11th-grade award winner, Malena Hughes.
Adams says this contest was about getting our youth involved in the political process, “I wanted to get some good ideas from our young people, get their perspective. And we got some really great essays, we got essays from all corners of the state. And we’ve got winners from all corners of the state. I think there’s a maybe an overstatement that kids today can’t talk because they just text they don’t know how to spell. That’s really though been disproved in this context, we got some really great essays. And I’d say arguably, Malena was the best one we got.”
Hughes says she wanted to write her essay in a way that was politically balanced.
“I wanted to make sure that I when I wrote about this topic that I chose something that I felt would have bipartisan appeal, as I think most policy reforms should have bipartisan appeal, especially as, especially as we face an increasingly polarized society, I think bipartisan changes and are very important. And bipartisan legislation is supremely important,” said Hughes.
“Very thoughtfully written. It took liberal positions and conservative positions, at the same time, advocated a form of voter registration that actually checkboxes on both sides. And that’s what I found in this office really important is to be able to sell your program to people on both sides and explain why it’s in their interest, regardless of their political persuasion,” said Adams.
Hughes says this is the second time winning this award. Hughes also received a perfect score on her ACT.
“I want to thank both my AP government teacher, Mr. Gardner, and my AP language teacher, Miss Grise. They both helped me not only in my writing skills but also in ensuring that I am an active student and I knew about this contest and keeping me engaged in civics, which is what this contest is all about,” said Hughes.
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