Spanberger Announces Jerry Zhang, Abigail Kaikkonen, Marguerite Yates, and Ella Mortimer as Winners of Student Essay Contest

The Congresswoman Launched the Contest to Help Honor the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

WASHINGTON, D.C.  Earlier this month, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger announced Jerry Zhang, Abigail Kaikkonen, Marguerite Yates, and Ella Mortimer as the winners of her civic engagement student essay contest.

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Spanberger invited students to respond to the question: “What does civic engagement mean to you?” Over the past few weeks, Spanberger received student submissions from all over Central Virginia.

Zhang and Kaikkonen will be invited to spend a day in Spanberger’s Washington, D.C. office to get a behind-the-scenes look at Congress. Yates and Mortimer will be invited to meet with Spanberger in Virginia’s 7th District and get an up-close view of how the District office works to serve the people of Central Virginia.

“After reading dozens of essays from students across Central Virginia, I feel more optimistic than ever about the future of our Commonwealth,” said Spanberger. “The responses we collected demonstrate a culture of service among high school students in Virginia’s Seventh District. Students in the Seventh are embracing civic engagement through community service projects and political activism. These students are thinking about civic engagement on a national and state level, as well as what it means in their local, person-to-person relationships. Regardless of what challenges face Virginia in the coming years, I’m confident that our students, with their unassailable passion and keen instinct for service and community-building, will be ready to meet them.”

Since taking office, Spanberger has voted to double the amount that teachers can deduct from their taxes for classroom supplies bought out-of-pocket. A graduate of Henrico County Public Schools, Spanberger is committed to supporting educators across Central Virginia and modelling a career in public service for students.


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