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Oakton Student Wins Nation's Largest High School Essay Contest

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Oakton High School student Natalie Nysetvold beat out more than 50,000 other participants, earning a top spot in America’s largest high school essay contest.
The Bill of Rights Institute
Oakton High School student Natalie Nysetvold beat out more than 50,000 other participants, earning a top spot in America’s largest high school essay contest.

Oakton High School student Natalie Nysetvold beat out more than 50,000 other participants for a top spot in America’s largest high school essay contest, the Bill of Rights Institute announced today.

Nysetvold, a senior, represented the South Atlantic Region and earned an Honorable Mention prize and $250 in the fourth annual Being An American Essay Contest. The national competition is sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute, an educational nonprofit based near Washington, D.C.

Nysetvold’s sponsoring teacher, Eliot Waxman, received a matching cash prize.

According to the Bill of Rights Institute, more than 100,000 students attending public and private high schools, and home-schooled students from all 50 states, have participated in the Being An American Essay Contest to date, with nearly $500,000 in prize money being awarded to winning students and their teachers.

To participate, students were asked to share their thoughts on American citizenship by answering the following question: "What civic value do you believe is most essential to being an American?"

In her winning essay, Nysetvold, who selected "integrity" as the civic value topic of her essay and thought Rosa Parks most embodied the American character, wrote, "Sometimes, integrity requires taking action that others will look down on, that society will sneer at, or that the norms may oppose, but I can still do what I know is right."

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