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Mount Abe student wins Hildene writing award

MANCHESTER — Mount Abraham eighth-grader Madison Shepard was honored in a statewide essay competition last month for her writing on climate change.
Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home in Manchester, paid tribute to 13 eighth-grade students at a celebratory luncheon there on May 21. The event honored the winners of the 11th annual Hildene Lincoln Essay Competition.
Shepard received an honorable mention, becoming the third student from Mount Abe to be so honored over the course of the five years the Bristol school has competed.  This is no small feat given the number of students who compete annually.
Officials said 153 essays from Vermont eighth-graders statewide were submitted, answering the following question in 500 words or less: “Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time, requiring a myriad of responses.  Describe one action the United States could implement to substantially curb greenhouse gas emissions, the key driver of rising global temperatures. Identify the likely positive and negative impacts such an action would have on one or more demographics.  Given these impacts, is this something the United States should do?  Why or why not?”
While each year’s essay competition question must be both relevant and thought provoking, it must also have at its core Lincoln values as touchstone.  Thus, before responding to the 2017 prompt noted above, participating students were reminded that in Abraham Lincoln’s First Annual Message to Congress, delivered on Dec. 3, 1861, the president said, “The struggle of today, is not altogether for today — it is for a vast future also.”  He, of course, was referring to the Civil War, just erupted.  Lincoln knew that every decision he made would have both positive and negative ramifications.
Shepard received her award of $250 and was personally recognized for her essay:  Educating Students About Climate Change.   Noting that just 2 degrees Celsius will bring untold horrors to civilization, she  proposed in her essay that, “A mandatory course on climate change is the first step to real and lasting change, and should be a prerequisite for all students to graduate.” Shepard and all competition writers were vigorously applauded for their accomplishments.

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