This month marks the 10th year of the Young Patriot Challenge (YPC) awards — the annual competition that offers students throughout Merced County the opportunity to share their perspectives on the U.S. Constitution.
The contest is open to all Merced County public schools and home school students. It also helps local teachers meet federal requirements to educate about the Constitution every year on Constitution Day, Sept. 17.
As part of this year’s challenge, kindergarten to sixth-grade students created posters, and middle school students wrote essays. Students who participated had the chance to win cash, gift cards and other prizes. The prompt for this year was: “Which amendment of the U.S. Constitution would you repeal or rewrite? … And please explain why you would take this action and the beneficial outcome(s) for the nation.”
Selected posters were displayed at the Merced Mall from Oct. 6-18. The award ceremony for parents and contest winners of all grade levels was held on Oct. 19 at the Atwater Community Center. In total, the event saw more than 1,780 submissions with more than 300 of those submissions on display during the event. The awards ceremony also gave students, family members and educators the chance to listen to a keynote speech by YPC creator Michael Pierce, who spoke about the important role the Constitution plays in American society.
Pierce spoke about the importance of protecting the idea of patents, the separation of powers within government, the powers which are enumerated within the Constitution, and the important role that freedom of speech plays within our day-to-day life.
This year’s award winners in the kindergarten through 3rd grade poster contest included: Siah Flores of Grasslands Elementary in Third Place, Layla Lo of Rivera Elementary in Second Place, and Aylin Rios of Sheehy Elementary in First Place. Moving to the 4th-6th Grade poster winners it was: Milla Flores of Burbank Elementary who came in Third Place, Roselyn Posadas of Peterson Elementary in Second Place, and Claire Chains of Burbank Elementary who secured the First Place spot.
Moving on to the Essay Contest, Giovanni Discua of Los Banos Junior High secured a Third Place spot, followed by Adalie Frade of Ballico who followed with a Second Place spot. Taking the top spot was Ivrie Nweke of Los Banos Junior High who grabbed the First Place award with an essay in support of rewriting the 25th amendment of the Constitution.