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Contest winners

The 2019 Civil Discourse Essay Contest winners Bryson Stotler, Nathan Mullanix, Arianna Herrera and Amman Ali Ashgabar pose with their certificates in SWOCC's Black Box Theater in Coos Bay. 

COOS BAY — The League of Women Voters of Coos County hosted the second annual Civil Discourse Essay Contest last week. Students from around the South Coast suggested different ways folks can promote civil discourse within their own communities.

The event, which took place at Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Black Box Theater, called on its contest winners to read their essays aloud and share with community members their thoughts on civil discourse.

This year, 12-year-old Bryson Stotler and 19-year-old Arianna Herrera were announced the first place winners of their categories and each walked away with a $100 scholarship.

For Stotler, he said the contest taught him a lot about the importance of having polite, respectful conversations with others who may not always agree with your point of view.

With so many communicative platforms available today, such as Twitter and Facebook, Stotler said having in person discussions still proves to be most effective in promoting civil conversations.

“Social media can be very one way,” said Stotler. “It can be hard sometimes to have a conversation with someone who posts a comment.”

In Herrera’s essay, the SWOCC student said she really wanted to bring attention to the importance of having compassion and empathy for others when having conversations on divisive topics.

“For me personally, empathy is at the core of a lot of my beliefs,” said Herrera. “We should communicate with that in mind and try listening to others to understand them rather than just focus on winning an argument.”

As part of the contest, students were also told to come up with a tweet that would summarize their essay’s main idea as well as include the hashtag #civildiscourse. More than a dozen students participated this year and six winners were announced last week winning a cash prize that ranged from $50 to $100.

2019 Civil Discourse Essay Contest Winners:

Middle/ High School category:

  • Bryson Stotler was announced the first place winner and won a $100 scholarship.
  • Macy Metcalf was announced the second place winner and won a $75 scholarship.
  • Nathan Mullanix was announced the third place winner and won a $50 scholarship.

College category:

  • Arianna Herrera was announced the first place winner and won a $100 scholarship.
  • Amman Ali Ashgabar announced the second place winner and won a $75 scholarship.
  • William Roderick was announced the third place winner and won a $50 scholarship.

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.

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