St. John’s student places third in Ninth Circuit Essay Contest

Jin Chung, 16, will be a junior at St. John's School at the start of the school year this fall.

St. John’s student Jin Chung placed third in the 2021 Ninth Circuit Civic Contest for his essay which stood out among a thousand other student submissions from states such as California, Washington and Hawaii.

The 16-year-old, soon to be a junior, in St. John’s, has experience in writing competitions, but said he has done more this year because “writing is a very good activity. pandemic “. The 2021 Ninth Circuit Civic Contest turned out to be another way for him to test himself.

“I’ve always tried to enter every writing contest that came up from time to time. These contests sometimes offer a much needed break from the mundane, and I have only to thank the event organizers for for giving me these opportunities, “said Chung, who found the help of a history teacher, Catherine Gayle.

This edition of the competition asked students to submit an essay or video to answer the following question:

“How should we, as a society, find the appropriate balance within our Constitution between safeguarding our rights and fulfilling our responsibilities to one another? “

Guam District Court Deputy Chief Registrar Charles White has been the contest organizer for five years. He said Chung’s use of previous Supreme Court cases to answer the question had helped him “rise above the crowd.”

Jin’s winning essay included fascinating examples of the United States Supreme Court prioritizing community safety over individual rights, including Jacobson v. Massachusetts which focused on the constitutionality of mandated smallpox vaccinations. the state, ”White said.

Chung’s essay, “The United States and Us: Balancing the Individual and the Community,” also discussed the Supreme Court case, Buck v. Bell, who was the court ruled in favor of forced sterilizations. The case has not yet been overturned since the decision was rendered in 1927.

The essay was one of 84 submissions in Guam that were narrowed down to the first three. They were sent to the Ninth Circuit to be tried among a thousand others in the 15 districts.

“I didn’t expect to get third place,” Chung said modestly. “The Ninth Circuit encompasses a vast area and it is an honor to represent Guam among states like California and Washington.”

The first and second place winners were from Washington and California, respectively.

For receiving third place, Chung will receive $ 1,000 and attend a virtual awards ceremony as no ceremony has yet been scheduled in Guam.

“I guess I’ll get ready for the ceremony by getting my hair cut and buying a nice costume,” Chung said. “And beyond that, I will have to determine whether I should waste money on unnecessary physical goods or wait to buy Bitcoin.”

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