District 622 middle schoolers win Maplewood Human Rights Commission essay contest

From left, Maplewood Human Rights Commissioners Julie Xiong, Nate Danielson and Jon Brandt pose with the winners of the commission’s essay contest, Maplewood Middle School student Nate Kong and Skyview Middle School students Julian Yang and Jaitel Vang. (submitted photo)

Three District 622 eighth graders have been named the winners of the city of Maplewood’s Human Rights Commission essay contest.

Nathaniel Kong, an eighth grader at Maplewood Middle School, earned first place for his essay and will be entered into the statewide essay contest. Two Skyview Middle School eighth graders also placed in the Top 3. Jaitel Vang earned second place and Julian Yang earned third place. All three students are members of the district’s AVID program, which provides a college-preparatory experience for students through advanced courses, mentorships, college visits and academic support.  

Students who chose to enter the contest had to answer the following questions: “Prejudice and stereotypes affect the way we perceive and interact with each other, even when we don’t realize it. How do stereotypes affect our society and how do they damage human rights?”

The essays were judged based on originality, creativity and composition.

All three of the students presented their essays at the Dec. 10 Human Rights Commission meeting.

The mission of the Maplewood Human Rights Commission is to aid and advocate for equal opportunities for all citizens of Maplewood in housing, employment, public accommodations, services and education, in addition to continuously working to improve human rights within the community.

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