Students Honored at Youth Anti-Violence Awards Luncheon April 14, 2010 at the Governor’s Mansion

SALT LAKE CITY, April 13, 2010 -“Bullying has affected my life in a way that makes me feel guilty. I now know to look for it and put a stop to it. I know that it can be stopped with just a few simple words, even though it might cost some friendships.” Korey Rush, finalists in Utah’s 2010 Do the Write Thing Challenge.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 – The Utah Board of Juvenile Justice (UBJJ) will honor 12 middle school students for their written anti-violence entries to Utah’s Tenth Annual Do the Write Thing Challenge. The awards luncheon will be held at the Governor’s Mansion located at 603 East South Temple Street from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Utah’s finalists are:

Blake Betts, Desert Hills M.S., St. George
Jessica Braithwaite, Fort Herriman M.S., Harriman
Savannah Escobar, Highland Jr., Ogden
Austin Floisand, Northwest M.S., Salt Lake City
Cozy Huggins, Treasure Mountain M.S., Park City
Shania Jensen, Desert Hills M.S., St. George
Marlie Meacham, Ephraim M.S., Ephraim
Christopher Nolasco, Northwest M.S., Salt Lake City
Blake Penrod, Juab Jr., Nephi
Fallon Peterson, Juab Jr., Nephi
Korey Rush, Treasure Mountain M.S., Park City
Tanner Smith, Highland Jr., Ogden

This national event, sponsored in-part by the Kuwait-America Foundation, invites 7th and 8th grade students to write how violence has affected their lives and what they can do to prevent violence in their community. School districts reported that more than 1,500 students from across Utah participated in classroom discussions about youth violence with more than 790 students submitting essays. The finalists selected by UBJJ were then forwarded to Utah’s twelve VIP judges; Brent and Bonnie Beesley, Commissioner of Public Safety D. Lance Davenport, Attorney Laurie Hart, Miss Utah Whitney Merrifield, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Judge Andrew Valdez, and Fox 13 News’ Hope Woodside.

Utah’s top two writers will be recognized this July with other finalists at the Do the Write Thing National Recognition Ceremony in Washington, D.C. They will meet with members of Congress to discuss the problem of youth violence and attend a reception hosted by the Ambassador to the United States for the State of Kuwait. A book containing the students’ writings will be placed in the Library of Congress.

“She has shed the cloak of ‘the victim’ and embraced life finally as one who is in control of her own destiny,” said the teacher of a former essay winner. One of the VIP judges said the essays are “sobering, yet inspiring”.

Media: Please call (801) 801-538-1052 to attend the luncheon.