2013 Charter Essay Contest Winners Present at the State Capitol!

In the Capitol Rotunda  Photo: Wonderlovely Photography

In the Capitol Rotunda
Photo: Wonderlovely Photography

Download the

2013 Charter Essay Contest Booklet here.

Due to rainy weather, the 9th annual Minnesota Charter Public Schools Essay Contest event was held inside the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday May 9th, 2013.  The MN House vote on the marriage bill was taking place as well.  But the poor weather and busy rotunda didn’t stop these amazing students from sharing their powerful, insightful, and sometimes funny, winning essays!  Thanks to all of the students, schools, and families who came out in support of our winners. Special thanks to TCF Foundation for co-sponsoring the event, Ruben Rosario of the Pioneer Press and Senator Pappas for speaking, and Senator Dibble for stopping by.

Describe the best day you’ve had at school. 

What made it the best day?

That’s the question that more than 2,200 Minnesota charter school students wrote about this spring.  We deeply appreciate their insights.  We also appreciate the faculty of almost 50 Minnesota charter public schools whose students submitted essays.  We take a little space here to explain this booklet and the annual Minnesota Charter Public School Writing Contest.

This is the ninth year that the Center for School Change has run this writing contest, and the seventh year that TCF has been a co-sponsor.  We deeply appreciate the support and encouragement from TCF, including Bill Cooper and Beth Topoluk.

We run the contest because we believe in the value of writing, and believe that students need more opportunities to share their work.  We also believe it’s vital to honor strong student work.

In February we sent the “prompt” listed above to all of Minnesota’s charter public schools.  As noted above, almost 50 schools responded, with more essays than we’ve ever received before.  (About 1,800 essays were submitted in 2012).

Macalester college student volunteers, led by Kelsey Austin-King, herself a California charter public school graduate, reviewed these essays.  They were divided into four major categories, students in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.  After the Macalester students review, a second review was conducted by CSC staff Marisa Gustafson, Kabo Yang and Joe Nathan.  We selected what we considered the best.  They are published here.

During National Charter Schools week in May, we gather at the Minnesota State Capitol to hear from and honor the winners.  We’ve learned a great deal from reading these essays.  We hope you will too.

Again, our thanks to TCF, the volunteer Macalester students, and to all participating schools, educators, families and most importantly, the students.  Congratulations to the winners.

-May, 2013

Check out the following photos of this great event:

 

K-2 winning students line up in preparation to read their essays!

K-2 winning students line up in preparation to read their essays!

 

Aiden waits to read  photo: Wonderlovely Photography

Aiden Beresford (Grade 1, Cologne Academy) waits to read
photo: Wonderlovely Photography

 

Grade 1 student Aiden Beresford from Cologne Academy bravely kicks off the event by reading his essay. Great job Aiden! photo: Wonderlovely Photography

Grade 1 student Aiden Beresford from Cologne Academy bravely kicks off the event by reading his essay. Great job Aiden!
photo: Wonderlovely Photography

 

Sabrin Yusuf, 1st grader from Hennepin Elementary, speaks at the podium.

Sabrin Yusuf, 1st grader from Hennepin Elementary, speaks at the podium.

 

Grade 2 student Tina Xiong of Noble Academy reads her essay.

Grade 2 student Tina Xiong of Noble Academy reads her essay.

 

1st grader Maya Morgan of Seven Hills Classical Academy gets ready to read.

1st grader Maya Morgan of Seven Hills Classical Academy gets ready to read.

 

2nd grader Vincent Smith Jr. of Urban Academy reads his stunning 1st place essay in the K-2 category. Photo: Wonderlovely Photography

2nd grader Vincent Smith Jr. of Urban Academy reads his stunning 1st place essay in the K-2 category.
Photo: Wonderlovely Photography

 

Ruben Rosario of the Pioneer Press speaks to the crowd.

Ruben Rosario of the Pioneer Press speaks to the crowd.

 

Winning students in the 3rd-5th category line up to read.

Winning students in the 3rd-5th category get ready to read.

 

Sen

Senator Pappas takes a moment out of her busy day to join in on the celebration.

 

Aviael Sanchez Chavira, 5th grader from Partnership Academy, shares his essay.

Aviael Sanchez Chavira, 5th grader from Partnership Academy, shares his essay.

 

Ilhan Abdullahi of Higher Ground Academy's 5th grade.

Ilhan Abdullahi of Higher Ground Academy’s 5th grade.

 

Maddie Moeller (5th grade, Cologne Academy) shares her essay. Photo: Wonderlovely Photography

Maddie Moeller (5th grade, Cologne Academy) shares her essay.
Photo: Wonderlovely Photography

 

Evan Nguyen of Eagle Ridge Academy 3rd grade.

Evan Nguyen of Eagle Ridge Academy 3rd grade.

 

5th grader Donnell Bratoon Jr. from Concordia Creative Learning Academy reads his 2nd place essay.

5th grader Donnell Bratoon Jr. from Concordia Creative Learning Academy reads his 2nd place essay.

 

Cathy Perez-Ortiz reads her 2nd place essay.  She is a 6th grader at Academia Cesar Chavez.

Cathy Perez-Ortiz reads her 2nd place essay. She is a 6th grader at Academia Cesar Chavez.

 

Jack Wockenhauser, 7th grader at Cologne Academy, reads. Photo: Wonderlovely Photography

Jack Wickenhauser, 7th grader at Cologne Academy, reads.
Photo: Wonderlovely Photography

 

Sara Lizbeth Gutierrez, 6th grader at Academia Cesar Chavez, reads her essay.

Sara Lizbeth Gutierrez, 6th grader at Academia Cesar Chavez, reads her essay.

 

Emily Barta, 12th grader from Spectrum High School, reads her essay.

Emily Barta, 12th grader from Spectrum High School, reads her essay.

 

Crowd listens attentively to the winning essays. Photo: Wonderlovely Photography

Crowd listens attentively to the winning essays.
Photo: Wonderlovely Photography

 

A senior at Community of Peace Academy, Ser Vang reads her 2nd place essay in the 9th-12th grade division.A senior at Community of Peace Academy, Ser Vang reads her 2nd place essay in the 9th-12th grade division.

 

Carter Thorson, 10th grader from Spectrum High School reads his 9th-12th 2nd place essay.

Carter Thorson, 10th grader from Spectrum High School reads his 9th-12th 2nd place essay.

 

9th grader Nallah Muhammad from Minneapolis College Preparatory reads her 2nd place essay in the 9th-12th division.

9th grader Nallah Muhammad from Minneapolis College Preparatory reads her 2nd place essay in the 9th-12th division.

 

Denisse Sanchez reads her exceptional essay, which won 1st place in the 9th -12th group.  She is a 10th grader at MTS HIgh School.

Denisse Sanchez reads her exceptional essay, which won 1st place in the 9th -12th group. She is a 10th grader at MTS High School.

 

Denisse Sanchez (MTS High School) and Cindy Murphy, Minnesota Department of Education State Project Director for Charter Public Schools.

Denisse Sanchez (MTS High School) and Cindy Murphy, Minnesota Department of Education State Project Director for Charter Public Schools.

 

9th-12th 1st place winner Denisse Sanchez meets Senator D. Scott Dibble (DFL) District 61.

9th-12th 1st place winner Denisse Sanchez meets Senator D. Scott Dibble (DFL) District 61.

 

K-2 first place winner Vincent Smith Jr. (Urban Academy 2nd Garde) poses for a photo with Senator Sandra L. Pappas (DFL) District 65.

K-2 first place winner Vincent Smith Jr. (Urban Academy 2nd Grade) poses for a photo with Senator Sandra L. Pappas (DFL) District 65.

 

Emily Barta and Bradley Peterson of Spectrum High School pose for a picture.

Emily Barta and Bradley Peterson of Spectrum High School pose for a picture.

Aiden with his certificate posing just outside of the Capitol on the steps. Photo: Wonderlovely Photography

Aiden with his certificate posing just outside of the Capitol on the steps.
Photo: Wonderlovely Photography

 

 

THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED IN AND SUPPORTED THE

9TH ANNUAL MINNESOTA CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS ESSAY CONTEST!

See you again next year!