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Secretary Hargett Presented Clay County High School Student with First-Place Award in Civics Essay Contest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Representative Kelly Keisling and Secretary of State Tre Hargett presented Clay County High School student Bridget Cherry with an award for her first-place finish in the 9-12th grade category in the statewide 2022 Civics Essay Contest. 

“I applaud Bridget for her top spot finish in the 9-12th grade category in our Civics Essay Contest,” said Secretary Hargett. “Our office created the contest to help students become more civically educated and are ready to take part in our electoral process as adults. It’s encouraging to have students like Bridget understand the value of becoming an informed voter.”  

For her first-place finish, Cherry received a $500 TNStars 529 College Savings Program scholarship and a trip to the State Capitol.
“Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy and this competition brings greater awareness of that fact in classrooms across our state,” said Rep. Keisling. “I congratulate Bridget and everyone at Clay County High School who participated. They are Tennessee’s next generation of leaders and can be a powerful force, but only if they make voting a habit when they become adults.”

The 2022 Civics Essay Contest was open to all Tennessee students in public, charter, private school or home school associations in grades PreK to 12. Schools chose up to two essays from each grade level to submit for the contest.

The Secretary of State’s office launched the Civics Essay Contest in 2016. The 2022 theme was “Why Your Vote Matters.” Previous essay themes included voting, citizenship, leadership and civic duty.

The Secretary of State’s Civics Essay Contest, Anne Dallas Dudley Award, College Voter Registration Competition and Student Mock Election are part of their longstanding civics engagement efforts to prepare students to be actively engaged citizens. The Secretary of State’s office also offers lesson plans to help teachers to incorporate civic engagement and citizenship into their curriculum. The free lesson plans were created by Tennessee teachers and are based on the Tennessee Blue Book.

For more information about the Civics Essay Contest and the Secretary of State’s other civic engagement education efforts, visit