American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada Awards $10,000 in Scholarships to Three Local High School Students

ACLU

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 8, 2015

American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada Awards $10,000 in Scholarships to
Three Local High School Students

Winners chosen after entering Sex Education Essay Contest

Click to Tweet: [http://ctt.ec/4L6Qa] In time for #SexEducationMonth, 3 local #CCSD high school students were awarded $10K in @ACLUNV’s #SexEdSay sex education essay contest.

LAS VEGAS – American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada (ACLUNV) hosted a sex education essay contest (#SexEdSay) for Clark County high school students attending public schools. ACLUNV encouraged students in grades 9 through 12 to write an essay explaining their needs and perspectives about what sex education should be. In time for Sex Education Month, three winners have been chosen and were awarded a total of $10,000 in scholarships.

Below are the three winning students and the scholarship amount each will receive:

· First Place: Samantha Gingrich, 12th grade student at College of Southern Nevada High School – Cheyenne Campus
o $5,000
· Second Place: Riley Schlemmer, 9th grade student at Las Vegas Academy
o $3,000
· Third Place: Anonymous, also a 9th grade student, has requested to remain anonymous due to concern with their parents’ objection to sex education. The winner will still be awarded the scholarship funds.
o $2,000

The essays were reviewed by a committee comprised of Heather Lusty, UNLV Honors College; David Beasley, UNLV English Department; Mary Yedinak, a member of the community; Lea Williams, UNLV College of Education; and Don Barlow, community member. After reviewing the essays and determining the winners, the Judges said the following about the experience:

“Essay submissions detailed a variety of deficiencies in our public education system’s SexEd/Health Education structure. CCSD students are painfully aware of the inaccuracies, oversights, and general lack of usefulness in the curriculum provided by their schools, and highlighted the need for more serious, diverse, inclusive, and informative lessons in the fundamental health-related issues they face daily.”

The ACLU of Nevada sponsored this essay contest to provide an opportunity for Clark County School District’s high school students to express their views about sex education.
“Students know exactly what they have or have not been taught, what they know, and what they need to know, but their voices have been ignored or silenced throughout the CCSD process,” said Tod Story, executive director. “With our #SexEdSay scholarship competition, students were given the opportunity to finally express themselves without their voices being muted. We can only hope that their insights, perspectives, and needs will move our community to adopt a sex education curriculum that meets the health needs of all of our students, rather than catering to the fears of some vocal parents.”

The ACLUNV believes students know best what information they need to be educated about making informed and healthy decisions when equipped with the facts. This opportunity was created because of the specific limits within CCSD’s current sex education program, student exclusion, and delays in updating the curriculum. This contest demonstrated how free speech works by giving students an opportunity and a platform to express their views.

***See below for images of check presentation. Winning essays available upon request. ***

winner1Photo 1:
Tod Story, ACLUNV Executive Director, presents the first place winner of the sex education essay contest, Samantha Gingrich of College of Southern Nevada High School – Cheyenne Campus, with a $5,000 scholarship check on Wednesday, October 7.
winner2

Photo 2:
Tod Story, ACLUNV Executive Director, presents the second place winner of the sex education essay contest, Riley Schlemmer of Las Vegas Academy, with a $3,000 scholarship check On Wednesday, October 7.


About American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada
The ACLU of Nevada is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to the defense and advancement of civil liberties and civil rights for all people in Nevada. For additional information, please visit www.aclunv.org.

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