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Out of a sizeable pool of nearly 1,200 applicants, fifty-four middle and high school students from across Colorado were announced today as finalists in the "Write to Lead" youth essay contest. Finalists will serve as ambassadors to state and territorial delegations, while two PresidentialWinners - one middle and one high school student - will attend the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Jared Jolton, an eighth-grade student at Colorado Academy in Denver, and Mari Tanabe, an eleventh-grade student at Manitou Springs High School, in Manitou Springs, Colo. were chosen as the Presidential Winners. Judges concluded that the themes in their essays, titled "In Front of the Pack" and "Restless for Change" respectively, best captured the spirit of this year's historic election.
The names, hometowns and schools of all 54 student winners are listed below and online at www.DemConvention.com and will run in a full-page ad in the either the Denver Post or the Rocky Mountain News along with full text of the Presidential Winners' essays. Each finalist will serve as an ambassador to one of the delegations to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In that role, the students will correspond with their assigned delegations prior to the Convention via a "Postcards from Colorado" campaign, sharing key facts, favorite destinations and other tips in advance of delegates' arrival in Denver.
The finalists were paired with a state or territorial delegation through a random lottery process and announced today at press conferences in Denver and Manitou Springs, Colo.
"These two extraordinary young people represent hundreds of their peers - Colorado students who answered the call and made their voices heard on leadership and our nation's future," said Leah D. Daughtry, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC). "We were impressed and truly overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness these essays demonstrated. Our winners showed a real depth of understanding of the qualities that make a good leader - courage, compassion, vision, humility, inspiration. These writings should inspire confidence in all of us that the leaders of tomorrow are well suited for the job." - DNCC Press Release