Clinton Foundation Announces Winner of "Ideas Matter" Essay Contest

Clinton Center Announces Winner of "Ideas Matter" Essay Contest
Little Rock, Ark (Jan. 23, 2012) -- The William J. Clinton Foundation is proud to announce the 2011 winner of its annual “Ideas Matter” essay contest. Berryville High School’s Ben Harris submitted the winning essay and will receive a $2,500 scholarship.

Each year, the Foundation awards the scholarship to the Arkansas high school student who best answers a specific writing prompt. This year, students were asked to respond (in 500 words or less) to this prompt: “There are many domestic issues (i.e., health care, debt, etc.) that our country faces. Choose and define a domestic issue and provide a solution for it.”

“The annual essay contest and scholarship is a testament to President Clinton’s unwavering commitment to education,” said Stephanie S. Streett, executive director of the William J. Clinton Foundation. “Quality educational programming is the Clinton Center’s top priority and we strive, everyday, to support our schools, our educators, and most importantly, our students. The essay contest is incredibly rewarding because it directly recognizes and supports outstanding students who are seeking higher education.”

More than 400 high school juniors and seniors from every corner of the state submitted essays. Essays were reviewed by a panel of educators led by Dr. Judith A. Hayn, an associate professor of the Teacher Education Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The panel selected the winner and two runners up: Destiny Quinn of Jonesboro High School placed second, and Mia Le of Siloam Springs High School placed third.

In addition to the scholarship, the winner and the runners up had the opportunity to meet President Clinton and have their photos made during one of the president’s recent trips to Little Rock. “It was such an honor to meet him,” said Harris who plans on attending College of the Ozarks and studying creative writing. “I said in my essay that as a senior in a small city high school, the big issues facing America seem too overwhelming to think about, much less act on. But Iook at President Clinton — he was once a senior in a small city high school in Arkansas — just like me, and think of everything he’s accomplished. It’s inspiring.”

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