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Paynesville Press - June 11, 2003

Eighth grader takes second in statewide essay contest

By Andy Jones

Erica Geurts Eighth grader Erica Geurts has placed second in a statewide essay contest sponsored by the League of Minnesota Human Rights Commissions.

Each eighth grade student at PAMS was required to write an essay for Dawn Knoll's civics class. The essay question was: "Why do we have Human Rights Acts such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Bill of Rights, and the Minnesota Human Rights Act? Are they necessary in the years 2002-2003? State your position and defend it."

Knoll gave the 20 papers with the highest scores to the Human Rights Commission. They chose Geurts as the winner of the local competition. Her essay (which was printed in the April 23 edition of the Press) was then submitted to the state competition.

Over 60 communities in Minnesota have a human rights commission. Each community sends one essay to the state competition where the top three are selected. Geurts' essay was awarded second place.

Geurts, the daughter of Dennis and Coreen Geurts, wrote about why human rights acts were still needed in today's society. She elaborated on how people in less fortunate countries are deprived of basic human rights.

She will be awarded a prize of $350 for her second place essay, which will be awarded at a luncheon at Red Wing High School on Sunday, June 22.

In the last four years Paynesville has had three state placewinners in this contest. Adam Ingalsbe placed third in 2000 and Tanya Whitcomb placed third last year. Paynesville is the smallest city in the state to have a Human Rights Commission.

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