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Pictured above are the winners of the Jane Addams Day 2013 Essay Contest. In the front row, from left, are Momo Wang (third place), Isabel Sperry (first place), Emmy Burchett (second place), and Griffin Deems (honorable mention). In the back row, from left, are Macomb Jr. High eighth grade social studies teacher Brock Bainter, WC volunteers Gloria Sanders, Sara Stampanato, and Delaney Mesick, and WIU Women's Center Director Janine Cavicchia. (Photo courtesy of WIU Women's Center)
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Four MHS Students Win WIU Essay Contest

December 10, 2013

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

The contest asked local junior high students to submit a 500-word essay on how Jane Addams made a difference in American society. The winners were Isabel Sperry, of Macomb, first place; Emmy Burchett, of Macomb, second place; Momo Wang, of Macomb, third place and Griffin Deems, of Macomb, honorable mention. All of the winners are students in Brock Bainter's eighth grade social studies class.

Judges for this year's contest were Women's Center volunteers Gloria Sanders, a senior social work major from Oak Park, IL; Delaney Mesick, a junior recreation, park and tourism administration (RPTA) major from La Grange Park, IL and Sara Stampanato, a junior RPTA major from Manhattan, IL.

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 Director Janine Cavicchia, Addams was a social reformer and was instrumental in the establishment of the social work field.

"We're pleased Mr. Bainter encourages his students to enter this contest as part of their eighth grade social studies curriculum. We had 21 entries this year, and it's a great way for students to learn about the significant impact she had on our society and write essays about how her work is still recognized today," Cavicchia said.

Addams, who was born in Cedarville (IL), 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.

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