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Hildene essay winners named

MANCHESTER — Two local middle school students were recognized for their essays submitted in the 2020 Hildene Essay Competition. Eliza Doucet, of Red Cedar School in Bristol received a second place prize and Aiden Decker, Otter Valley Union Middle School received an honorable mention for Region Three, which includes Addison, Rutland, and Bennington Counties. Top finishers in each of four geographical areas were selected from the 167 entries from Vermont eighth graders. 
The students were asked to identify one issue facing Vermont that the state should address. They were asked to describe the challenge and its negative impacts, explain why governmental action is appropriate, suggest one or more actions that state government should take, and explain why they thought such action would improve the situation. A panel of judges from across the nation selected the winning essays, which were evaluated based on their content, the student’s understanding of the subject and ability to convey that understanding using good writing in 500 words or fewer.
Doucet’s essay, which garnered her $400, advocates for 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all Vermont parents, paid for by implementing a state disability insurance program. With a $200 award, Decker’s essay urges cutting state taxes to spur job growth, stimulate the economy and retain workers. 
In years past, winners were honored at an awards luncheon at Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home, in May. With the need for social distancing this year, the winners are honored at hildene.org/learning/lincoln_essay. All first-, second-and third-place winners, as well as honorable mentions, have recorded themselves reading their essays. Their videos will be available for viewing online on Hildene’s YouTube on May 17. 

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