Six Las Vegas high school students were named this week as 2020 winners in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals civics contest.
Almost 1,000 students from nine western states, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands produced videos and wrote essays around a theme titled “The Right to Vote: Milestone Anniversaries,” according to a news release.
The Las Vegas students first competed through the U.S. District Court of Nevada, from which finalists advanced to the circuit level.
Mandy Jiang, Cathleen Liang and Michelle Jiang of West Career & Technical Academy won a first-place prize of $2,000. Meanwhile, Sandar Aung, Amina Boulakhras and Nesrine Maidi, also of West Career & Technical Academy, collected a third-place prize of $500.
They were posed with the question: “In the wake of the 15th and 19th Amendments, barriers remained to prevent United States citizens from voting. Do formal or informal barriers remain today? What additional changes would you make, if any, to Americans’ voting rights?”
Fifteen different federal courts held contests overseen by judges, attorneys, court executives, law clerks, court staff and a Public Information and Community Outreach Committee to find winners for the 9th Circuit competition.
Nevada received 278 essays and 21 videos at the district level. Three students from West Career & Technical Academy — Sophia Socha, Kate Wong and Alyssa Maria Lagua — won for their essays.
Las Vegas students who received cash prizes for videos were Sandar Aung, Amina Boulakhras, Nesrine Maidi, Mandy Jiang, Cathleen Liang and Michelle Jiang, all of West Career & Technical Academy, and Trevor Smerz and Austin Phelps of Faith Lutheran High School.