Libby Miller Earns National Grand Prize Honors in Essay Contest
Congratulations to 7th-grade Spartan Libby Miller, who has been named a Middle School Grand Prize Winner in the "What Will You Run For" student essay contest sponsored by Scholastic. Miller was one of only three middle school grand prize winners nationally.
The "What Will You Run For" contest asked students to pick a local cause or issue they wanted to address in their community and then identify how they would effect change through one of three roles: mayor, city council or state legislature. Miller wrote about the education system in Texas and how she would effect change as a member of the state legislature.
Following are excerpts from Miller’s winning essay:
"... in Texas we have an inadequate education budget. There is bipartisan support that we should change our education budget. A Travis County judge named John Dietz found the budget unconstitutional and pushed to have it changed. In his words, 'If [the Texas Supreme court] has to pass a tax increase ... and the public runs them out of office. Ok[ay]. But I think their oath is to preserve the constitution. It’s not to get re-elected … What is more important than education?' He is highlighting how the legislature and Texas Supreme Court are too afraid to pass a tax increase because they are worried about their jobs.
“…our schools are not always integrated. Just ‘too many children in Texas,’ and the rest of the US, ‘face tremendous barriers to opportunity because of the color of their skin.’ By 2011 there were 6,727 schools where less than 1% are white. Black and Latino children are also 6 times more likely to go to a high-poverty school in Texas. Brown vs. Board of Education ruled that any ‘U.S. state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional’. This ruling made states undo any laws saying that there had to be schools for just black and schools for just white students, but it was not always implemented well.”
Miller’s English 7 instructor, John Keyes, could not be happier for the young writer. "In speaking with a representative of Scholastic, I was told: 'I am not part of the judging process but, when the winners were forwarded, I double checked at least three times that her entry was in the correct age band after I read it! I couldn’t believe it was a middle school student. Extremely well done!'" Keyes added that Miller spearheaded the entire endeavor herself.