The finalists and winners of this year’s Bill of Rights Institute MyImpact Challenge represent a cross-section of the entire country – from Eastern states like New Jersey and New York, stretching all the way to Hawaii, and everywhere in between.
MyImpact Challenge is BRI’s civic engagement contest, which encourages students to develop service projects that benefit their local communities and promote constitutional principles such as liberty, equality, and justice.
This year’s $10,000 grand prize winner was Caroline Gao, a recent graduate of West Albany High School in Albany, Ore. For her project, Gao created The World In Us – a nonprofit organization that helped connect more than 650 young people from 26 countries to promote cross-cultural education and understanding.
Gao partnered with the Greater Albany Public Schools District for her project, as well as her local Boys & Girls Club and Oregon State University. In her MyImpact Challenge application, Gao wrote “We seek to empower every young person to not only care about but also proactively work to defend the equal rights, dignity, and liberty of all human beings.”
BRI awarded a total of $40,000 in prizes for this year’s MyImpact Challenge. The other top prize winners are:
- First Prize ($7,500): Rylee Brooke Kamahele, Homeschool student, Mililani, Hawaii
- Second Prize ($5,000): Mark Leschinsky, Bergen County Academies, Hackensack, N.J.
- Third Prize ($2,500): Miyana Holden, Poly Prep Country Day School, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Honorable Mentions ($1,500): Audrey Su, Skyline High School, Millcreek, Utah; Ella Pintar, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; Kathryn Vercuse and Hampton Tester, Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana, Calif.; Katie Meggers, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; Tanisha Makam and Shriya Sreeju, Edward S. Marcus High School, Flower Mound, Tex.; Tulsi Patel, Oxford Academy, Cypress, Calif.