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ONU political science honorary Civic Engagement essay awards

Program: You’re not too young to make a difference

On December 15, students from Ohio Northern University and Ada High School gathered for a luncheon and awards program as participants in the Pi Sigma Alpha Empowering Youth Through Civic Engagement Essay Contest. The students also heard from Ada Area Chamber of Commerce director Lindsay Walden Hollar on the subject of civic engagement.

The political science honorary society invited university and high school students to write essays responding to this prompt:

Many people in the U.S. think their vote does not have a true impact in the government. How would you convince young people that it is important to vote in today’s society? What are ways young people can engage in politics other than voting? Why is civic engagement important for young people?


Awards with prizes were given to:


Amelia Alexander - 1st place
Abid Khan - 2nd place
Kaden Arn - 3rd place


Maria Pfaff - 1st place
Lauren Zelner - 2nd place
Delaney Frock - 3rd Place

Prizes awarded were First Place - $100, Second Place - $75, Third Place - $50.

Members of Pi Sigma Alpha evaluated the essays using a rubric and selected the award recipients.

When Hollar spoke to the students, she zeroed in on the message that they are not too young to make a difference.

Hollar introduced herself as an Ada High School and Ohio Northern University graduate. She explained that she is the fifth generation to work at the family company Sheldon Oil and that she became the director of the Ada Chamber in March 2022.

The chamber director noted that her parents always took her along when they were involved in community projects. Now she often finds herself the youngest person engaged in community projects and, as she confided to the students, is sometimes looked at with skepticism because of her youth.

Hollar urged the students to connect with community activities such as the chamber’s special events and to seek out opportunities to volunteer. She assured them that their contributions were needed and that they would make an important difference in their communities.