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LAKELAND, Fla. — The American Center for Political Leadership (ACPL) at Southeastern University hosted its second annual essay contest centered around civil discourse and civic engagement. Ten finalists were selected from local high schools across Polk County. On May 2, 2022, the ACPL announced the official winners of the Civic Initiative Essay Contest.  Congratulations to Savannah Adams (1st), Kirsten Domineck (2nd) and Emily Sansone (3rd)!

Adams is a junior at Auburndale High School, Domineck is a junior at George Jenkins High School and Sansone is a senior at Auburndale High School. Please visit to watch their essay videos.  

The scholarship award for first place was $1,500, second place was $1,000 and third place was $500. The essay contest was designed to promote civil discourse, civic engagement and civic renewal. Participants were required to answer the prompt, “Why is civic engagement and the need for civil discourse important in our current political climate?” The contest was judged by a panel of college professors and community leaders.

“The quality of content and the thoughtful discussion exemplified by each student who participated in the essay competition was phenomenal. Each one is to be congratulated on their respective entries,” said ACPL Director Dennis Ross. “I have great confidence not only in their generation, but also in each of them as great leaders of their generation. They will make a positive difference for the good of this nation.”

The American Center for Political Leadership is a bipartisan think tank that was founded at SEU to raise up a new generation of political leaders who understand that the only way to create real lasting change is by engaging in the process, especially when others pull back. Exercising civility when others work through disrespect, and defending the individual freedoms that form the bedrock of our society, are key to a better nation. The ACPL stands on three pillars: cultivating civic engagement, advancing political civility and defending individual freedoms. Its goal is to reclaim the traditional American ideal that we can make this nation great by working together, no matter what our differences may be, and give the next generation the tools they need to make this dream a reality.

To read more about the ACPL or the essay contest, click here

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