Piscataquis Community High School and Gould Academy Students Win Camden Conference Essay Prizes
Ruth O. Griffith, a student at Piscataquis Community High School in Guilford is the First Prize winner of the annual Bill Taylor Award for her essay related to the 2022 Camden Conference, Europe: Challenged at Home and Abroad. The Second Prize winner was Thomas Lowell of Gould Academy in Bethel. And this year, there were two Third Prize winners, Samantha Goodwin of Piscataquis CHS, and Burke MacLeay of Gould Academy.
In her essay Griffith argued for early U.S. intervention in the Russia-Ukraine conflict – which, coincidentally, began on the eve of the February 25-27 Camden Conference – based on the positive outcomes of U.S. interventions in WWI and WWII. Griffith compared the U.S. with the mythological hero Beowulf as the defender of a populace against outside aggression, a comparison the contest judges called “highly original.” Overall, the judges wrote, the essay was a “very literate argument for intervention” to preserve international law and national sovereignty. Ruth O. Griffin’s essay
Second Prize winner Thomas Lowell of Gould Academy was praised by the judges for a “well developed and strongly argued” case for containment of Russia’s current and future incursions, for expansion of NATO membership, and for continued E.U./U.S. collaboration and U.S. military support of Ukraine. Thomas Lowell’s essay
Piscataquis CHS’s Samantha Goodwin was awarded Third Prize for what the judges called a “thought-provoking essay” that argued for a return to a rules-based world order through tactical interventions to counter Russia’s violation of this order. Gould Academy’s Burke MacLeay, the Third Prize co-winner, discussed in his essay the weakness of the European Union’s response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The judges said MacLeay’s essay was a “well written and focused” analysis of the E.U.’s inability to act as a peacemaker in the Ukraine conflict. Samantha Goodwin’s essay Burke MacLeay’s essay
The Bill Taylor Award was created by its namesake in 2015 to promote student research. Taylor was a long-time Camden Conference supporter with a strong interest in education. The Camden Conference education programs are designed to promote knowledge, perspectives, and dialogue opportunities on world affairs with high school and college educators and their students. Several Maine high schools and colleges offer academic courses based on the annual Conference topic. Twenty percent of the nearly 1200 Conference attendees are high school and college students who receive Camden Conference scholarship funding to defray their registration cost. The students who enter the essay contest do not have to be enrolled in a Camden Conference course, but they do have to attend the Conference.
The Camden Conference congratulates our winners and thanks all of the students who participated! The winning essays are posted on our website: www.camdenconference.org.