Three high schoolers distinguished themselves in The Charles M. Bauervic 2023 Essay Contest, presented by the Mackinac Center and Northwood University. The students’ well-researched and thoughtful treatment of the role of free markets and government in enabling free and responsible speech impressed our judges. The winning students received prizes of $1,000, $750 and $500, respectively, as well as a certificate and a commemorative pen.
Amy Lee won first place in the high school track of the essay contest. A senior at H. H. Dow High School in Midland, Amy plans to attend the University of Michigan to study engineering. She learned about the contest from her high school counselor. Her research and participation in Mackinac Center and Northwood University educational events informed her opinion and helped her see the subtleties of potential arguments. “My main hurdle when writing the essay was figuring out how to narrow the topic,” she says. In her free time, Amy enjoys participating in marching band and robotics. She is also a member of the National Honor Society.
Second-place finisher Zixuan Wang drew upon his experiences living under the Chinese government’s pervasive censorship. He is currently a high school student in Beijing, and he encountered the essay contest opportunity while browsing the Mackinac Center website. “Chinese schools rarely teach students how to write essays, and they often suppress independent and creative thinking,” Zixuan says. He was grateful for the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the interplay among government, market forces and freedom of speech. Zixuan hopes to study political science or sociology at a university in the United States and perhaps apply for a summer internship at the Mackinac Center.
Andy Yao, who placed third in the contest, also attends H. H. Dow High School and plans to enroll at the University of Michigan to study computer science. The essay contest afforded him the opportunity to be heard on an issue that is relevant to his life. Andy found the essay contest while looking for scholarships and decided to apply because he is interested in current debates about regulating social media. “As a high schooler, it means a lot to me that my writing has a tangible impact on the world – whether I win prize money or not.”
The Mackinac Center was honored to present this opportunity to help the next generation develop free-market sensibilities and be rewarded for their efforts.