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Pictured above are the winners of the Jane Addams Day 2012 Essay Contest. In the front row, from left, are Blake Sullivan (second place), Allison DeVolder (first place) and Noah Pyles (third place). In the back row, from left, are WIU Women's Center Director Janine Cavicchia, and WC volunteers/social work liaisons Sara Stockert, Eryka Darey and Sarah Kearley. Not pictured is Macomb Jr. High eighth grade social studies teacher Brock Bainter.
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Macomb Students Named Winners in WIU Essay Contest

December 12, 2012

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MACOMB, IL - Three Macomb Junior High students were named winners of an essay contest sponsored by Western Illinois University's Women's Center and Department of Social Work in honor of the state's sixth annual Jane Addams Day.

The winners were Allison DeVolder, of Macomb, first place; Blake Sullivan, of Macomb, second place and Noah Pyles, of Macomb, third place. All of the winners are students in Brock Bainter's social studies class. Judges were Women's Center volunteers who are social work majors at Western.

The contest asked local junior high students to submit a 500-word essay on how Jane Addams made a difference in American society.

Monday, Dec. 10 was the sixth annual Jane Addams Day in Illinois. In 2006, Governor Rod Blagojevich signed legislation proclaiming Dec. 10 as Jane Addams Day. On that date in 1931, Addams became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Peace, honoring her work as the leader of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

According to Women's Center social work student volunteer Sarah Kearley, (Naperville) a senior social work major, not many people realize how important social work is and the great impact Jane Addams had in many people's lives.

"Her life and work is worth celebrating," Kearley said.

Born in Cedarville (IL) in 1860, Addams was a social reformer and pioneer of American social work.

Addams was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She also founded Hull House, which became an internationally-famous settlement house that initiated the development of the social work profession through its programs to enhance health, literacy, workplace safety, education, justice for children, outreach to oppressed immigrant groups and social investigations.

"It's a good feeling to know that eighth grade students were able to realize the great impact she had on our society and write essays that talk about how her work is still recognized today," Kearley said.

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