Monday, May 1, 2017
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Secretary Dunlap announces winners of 2017 Maine Constitution Essay and Poster Contest

AUGUSTA – Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has announced the names of the winners of the 2017 Maine Constitution Essay and Poster Contest.

The annual contest allows Maine students from grades K through 12 to participate, with older students submitting essays regarding the Maine Constitution, voting and democracy; and younger students creating posters reflecting Maine history or symbols. 

“The essay and poster contest is a great opportunity for students to reflect on the wide spectrum of Maine’s identity, from our traditional industries to the iconic animals that roam our woods and waters,” said Dunlap. “We congratulate the winners and hope that all of the students gained a deeper appreciation for their state through their participation.”

The essay contest is for students in middle school and high school. It is divided into two categories:

The theme for grades 6-8 is “The Maine Constitution.”  Karen Desmond, an eighth-grade student in William Prest’s class at Highview Christian Academy in Charleston, received top honors in this category for her essay entitled “My Home.”

The theme for grades 9-12 is “The Importance of Voting and Democracy.” Kiley Eckstein, a 12th-grade student in William Prest’s class at Highview Christian Academy in Charleston, took first place in this category for her essay titled “What Difference Does It Make?”

The poster contest, open to students from kindergarten to grade 5, is broken into two categories, with a theme of “Maine Symbols” for grades K-3 and “Maine History” for grades 4-5.

Ivayla Varbanova, a third-grade student in Linda Miller’s class at Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Portland, received top honors for her symbols poster, which depicts a green mountain dotted with iconic Maine animals.

Lily Mitchell, a fifth-grade student in Ashley Wiltse’s class at James H. Bean Elementary School in Sidney, took first place for her poster depicting the history of the logging industry in Maine.

These students and their classmates are invited to view the state's original 1820 Constitution at the Maine State Archives in Augusta – a special honor, as it is not regularly removed from the storage vault for viewings.

The posters were judged on April 13 by three members of the Maine Legislature who volunteered their time: Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cumberland, Rep. Thomas Skolfield, R-Weld, and Rep. John Schneck, D-Bangor.

To learn more about the program and view winning entries from this year’s contest and past contests, visit the Secretary of State’s website: