The Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation announced the winners of the inaugural Wisconsin Civics Games Editorial Writing & Cartoon Contest during a virtual awards ceremony July 2.

Launched during Sunshine Week—a continuation of efforts by the WNA Foundation to increase civic education and engagement while in-person events were on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic—students were asked to convey their opinion about an issue related to the First Amendment through editorial writing or an editorial cartoon.

Winners, selected by local newspaper professionals, were chosen in both writing and cartoon contests. In the writing contest, high school students were asked to write a “guest column” (500 words or less) and middle school students were asked to write a “letter to the editor” (200 words or less).

All Wisconsin middle and high schools students were eligible to participate and competed in separate categories.

Cash prizes of $500 each were awarded to first place recipients. Second, third and honorable mention awardees received $250, $100 and $50, respectively.

Thirteen students were honored for their civic awareness and expression. They are:

High school cartoon

First place: Annmarie Morrison, La Farge.

Second place: Marisol Ramirez, Milwaukee.

Third place: Charles Loeffler, Elkhart Lake.

Honorable mention: Elijah Ashley-Youngblood, Milwaukee.

High school writing

First place: Joshua Cao, Kenosha.

Second place: Charles Loeffler, Elkhart Lake.

Third place: Tessa Tolomeo, Cedarburg.

Honorable mention: Quentin Lathrop, Soldiers Grove.

Middle school cartoon

First place: Evelyn Loeffler, Elkhart Lake.

Honorable mention: Sophia Cetera, Kansasville.

Middle school writing

First place: Lana Centeno, Wittenberg.

Second place: Jonah Bratcher, Loyal.

Third place: Addison Palmer and Eve Brandt, Bristol.

During the virtual awards program, each student shared the story behind their submission. Special guests Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and state Supreme Court Justice Patience D. Roggensack applauded the contest and remarked on the importance of civic engagement among Wisconsin’s youth. Legislators also congratulated their student constituents via video.

The WNA Foundation is a nonprofit organization created in 1980 to support programs that foster excellence in journalism, engage current and future newspaper leaders, and invest in our communities. The foundation solicits, manages and disburses funds and other resources for the benefit of Wisconsin’s newspaper industry.

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