With one eye on today’s politics and the other on future academics, six Sussex County students have earned some collegiate cash for their political punditry.
Sussex County Council, at its Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, meeting, announced the 2014 winners of the Election Year Scholarship Contest, recognizing six children — one grand prize recipient and five runners-up — with plaques and scholarship prizes for their winning efforts. This year’s contest was the eighth since its inception.
“It has always been the highlight of each election year to see our young people getting involved in the political process, and this year is no different,” said Councilman Vance Phillips, who proposed the election contest beginning in 2000. “Hopefully, this is the beginning of a lifetime of civic engagement.”
Students ages 18 and younger who are residents of the county and enrolled in public or private schools were invited to participate in the contest, which serves as a fun lesson about the American election process. To take part, students filled out a form on the County website to predict the winners of 22 national, state and local races in the Nov. 6 general election.
To break a tie, each entrant was asked to predict the total number of votes the winner of the state treasurer’s race would receive from Sussex County. Kenneth Simpler, who won the election, collected 41,215 votes from Sussex County.
Students competed for one $200 scholarship prize, and five $100 runner-up prizes. One winner and five runners-up were declared, based on their predictions and the tie-breaking question, from a field of 165 participants. Those students were recognized at the County Council meeting Tuesday morning. The winner and five runners-up are:
• Winner Trevor Beachboard, 16, a junior at the Sussex Central in Georgetown. Trevor correctly picked 20 of 22 races, with a tie-breaking prediction of 30,000 votes from Sussex County for the treasurer’s race winner;
• First runner-up David Lisiewski, 13, an eighth-grader at Millsboro Middle School. David correctly predicted 20 of 22 races, with a tie-breaking prediction of 78,967 votes from Sussex County for the treasurer’s race winner;
• Second runner-up Ethan Ward, 13, an eight-grader at Sussex Academy. Ethan correctly predicted 19 of 22 races, with a tie-breaking prediction of 40,000 votes;
• Third runner-up Chase Monigle, 11, a fifth-grader at Richard Shields Elementary. Chase correctly predicted 19 of 22 races, with a tie-breaking prediction of 995 votes;
• Fourth runner-up Devan Hudson, 13, an eighth-grader at Millsboro Middle School. Devan correctly predicted 19 of 22 races, with a tie-breaking prediction of 988 votes;
• Fifth runner-up Ethan Shuttleworth, 10, a fifth-grader at Richard Shields Elementary. Ethan correctly predicted 19 of 22 races, with a tie-breaking prediction of 509 votes to capture the last prize.
County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said the students and their families should be proud of their accomplishments.
“This is an impressive feat for all the students involved.” Lawson said. “It’s always inspiring to see students so young take an interest in the political process.”
While the top student won a $200 scholarship prize, the five runners-up were not left empty handed. Each won a $100 scholarship. All of the scholarships are to be paid upon a student’s enrollment in college or another post-high school educational program. Funding comes through councilmanic grants, as well as from the Moore & Rutt law firm.