(Press Release) — The District Court for the NMI recognized the winners of this year’s Ninth Circuit Civics Contest and Law Day Photo Contest.

The Ninth Circuit Civics Contest is an essay and video contest for high school students in the western United States and two Pacific Island jurisdictions.

This year’s theme focused on the First Amendment and the Schoolhouse Gate: Students’ Free Speech Rights.

The civics contest was open to high school students in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington state, the U.S. Territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Students were invited to submit creative and thoughtful videos and/or essays capturing the theme which focused on students’ free speech rights.

The contest challenged students to address “What are students’ free speech rights — and responsibilities — on and off campus?”

In the CNMI, a total of five videos and 88 essays ranging between 500 to 1,000 words in length were submitted to the Ninth Circuit. 

The essays were returned to the NMI District Court without any name or school identifiers to be judged solely on the students’ understanding of constitutional principles, clarity and effectiveness in expressing the theme, grammar, spelling, and composition, and use of footnotes and bibliographies properly attributing information taken from other sources.

The winners for the essay contest were:

• First Place ($100): John Lawrence Apit, Marianas High School)

• Second Place ($75): Jenny Min (Marianas High School)

• Third Place ($50): Samantha Flores, (Marianas High School)

This year’s video contest winners were:

• First Place ($100): Wendy Zha (Marianas High School)

• Second Place ($75): Amena Mahmud (Marianas High School)

• Third Place ($50): Grace Ju  (Marianas High School)

The first-place video and essay are published on the District Court’s website at https://www.nmid.uscourts.gov/newsDetail.php?Northern-Mariana-Islands---2022-Ninth-Circuit-Civics-Contest-Winners-192 and were submitted to the Ninth Circuit to compete with the first-place winners in other districts for a cash price of $3,000 (first place), $1,700 (second place), or $1,000 (third place).

Photo contest

In celebration of Law Day, the District Court also held its second annual Law Day Photo Contest during May. Law Day is celebrated nationally on May 1 to recognize the rule of law. Law Day underscores how law and the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that we all enjoy. The 2022 Law Day theme is “Towards a More Perfect Union. The Constitution in Times of Change.”

 The photo contest was open to all public and private school students in the CNMI in grades 6 through 12. Students were asked to give a brief description on how their photo captured the theme. Photos were judged according to its originality, creativity, and how well the photo represented the theme.

The high school winners were:

• First Place: Wendy Zha (11th Grade, Marianas High School)

• Second Place: Xinyi Ni (11th Grade, Kagman High School)

• Third Place: Amena Mahmud (11th Grade, Marianas High School)

The middle school winners were:

• First Place: Tyler Camacho (7th Grade, Chacha Oceanview Middle School)

• Second Place: Yu Rong Jiang (7th Grade, Francisco Sablan Middle School)

An award ceremony was held on June 3, 2022 in the third floor courtroom for the participants of both the Ninth Circuit Civics Contest and Law Day Photo Contest. Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona was present to congratulate the students. The winning photos are published on the District Court’s website at https://www.nmid.uscourts.gov/newsDetail.php?2022-Law-Day-Photo-Contest-Winners-191

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