The Pan American Collaboration for Ethics in Professions (PACE) office at The University of Texas-Pan American hosted the Constitutional Essay Awards Banquet April 9 to honor the high school students whose essays were the selected finalists of the Constitutional Essay Contest held November 2010-January 2011.
The award recipients are as follows, pictured from left to right (back row): Geoffrey Ballinger, 10th place; Reagan Ashley, 8th place; Sarah Cantu, 6th place; Victoria Ochoa, 5th place; Casey Hughes, 10th place; Jorge Salazar, 4th place; Michael Antony, 7th place; Juan Felipe Balcazar, 10th place; and Quentin Hale; 9th place. (Front row) Randy Smith, 2nd place; Esperanza Gelman; Dr. Lawrence Richard Gelman; Rebecca Basaldua, 1st place; and Betty Garcia, 3rd place.
The contest participants had to write a well-supported essay between 1,000-1,250 words and address the topic of, "Is the U.S Constitution manipulable, subject to reinterpretation based on modern concepts, or is it meant to be essentially immutable, defining a permanent relationship between government and citizen?" The contest and awards were made possible by the generous donations made by Dr. Lawrence Richard Gelman and his wife, Esperanza Gelman.
The first place winner took home a full UTPA scholarship in the amount of $22,500. Second place received a $10,000 scholarship, while third place received a $5,000. First through fifth place winners got a MacBook Pro, a framed certificate and a flash drive. Sixth through tenth place finalists received an iPad 2, a framed certificate and flash drive.