Fort Bend Independent School District student Derek Jiang, a rising senior at Stephen F. Austin High School, was named the grand prize winner of the 2019-2020 We the Students Essay Contest, sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute.
This go-around, the essay contest prompted its participants to submit essays explaining what civil discourse means to them.
Essays were judged on the following criteria: adherence to the submission guidelines, originality, organization, writing style and depth of analysis.
In his essay, Jiang used the friendship between Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Justice Antonin Scalia as an example of civil discourse.
“When asked on 60 Minutes how he and Ginsburg got along so well, Justice Antonin Scalia replied, ‘I attack ideas. I don’t attack people,' Jiang wrote in his essay. "That is the cornerstone of proper civil discourse–the exchange of ideas without personal attacks. It is building bridges between people to understand each other, not burning them down.”
Derek’s essay earned him $7,500 and a scholarship to the Bill of Rights Institute’s 2020 Constitutional Academy in Washington, D.C., according to a release from the school district.
Click here to read Jiang’s essay.