Wednesday, May 19, 2016 
Contact:  Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap Announces Winners of 2016 Maine Constitution Essay and Poster Contest

Winning artwork and essays available to view online

AUGUSTA ? Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has announced the names of the winners of the 2016 Maine Constitution Essay and Poster Contest.

The annual contest allows Maine students from grades K through 12 to participate, with older students submitting essays regarding the Maine Constitution, voting and democracy; and younger students creating posters reflecting Maine history or symbols. 

?The essay and poster contest is a great opportunity for students to reflect on the wide spectrum of Maine?s identity, from
our traditional industries to the iconic animals that roam our woods and waters,? said Dunlap. ?We congratulate the winners and hope that all of the students gained a deeper appreciation for their state through their participation.?

The essay contest is for students in middle school and high school. It is divided into two categories:
The theme for grades 6-8 is ?The Maine Constitution.?  Rylee Bellemare, a seventh-grade student in Helen Beesley?s class at Windsor Elementary School, received top honors in this category for her essay titled ?Parks and Recreation.?

The theme for grades 9-12 is ?The Importance of Voting and Democracy.? Kiley Eckstein, an 11th-grade student in William Prest?s class at Highview Christian Academy in Charleston, took first place in this category for her essay titled ?Making Your Voice Heard.?

The poster contest, open to students from kindergarten to grade 5, is broken into two categories, with a theme of ?Maine Symbols? for grades K-3 and ?Maine History? for grades 4-5.

Jade L. Noel, a kindergarten student at Jameson Elementary School in Old Orchard Beach, received top honors for her symbols poster with a four seasons theme. Rebecca D?Amico, a fourth-grade student at Belgrade Central School, took first place for her poster depicting Maine?s shipbuilding history.

These students and their classmates are invited to view the state's original 1820 Constitution at the Maine State Archives in Augusta ? a special honor, as it is not regularly removed from the storage vault for viewings.

Judges for this year?s contest were: Sen. Thomas B. Saviello of Wilton, Rep. Michelle A. Dunphy of Old Town and Rep. Louis J. Luchini of Ellsworth.

To learn more about the program and view winning entries from this year?s contest, visit the Secretary of State?s website: