Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark presents scholarship To Clearwater High School Senior, winner of “Power of the Pen” Essay Contest
Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark presented a $500 college scholarship and certificate Thursday (February 26) to Joshua Montaad, a Clearwater High School senior, winner of the countywide 2008 “Power of the Pen” Essay Contest.
Joshua, son of Delfin and Leila Montaad of Safety Harbor, plans to attend the University of South Florida to further his education following his graduation from Clearwater High School. He is a cadet in the Marine Corp JROTC and accepted the award in uniform.
The essay contest was designed to encourage interest and participation in the democratic voting process, and to make voters aware that with the county’s new optical scan voting system, the power is in the pen as they cast their paper ballots. The contest was open to Pinellas County high school seniors.
Contest judges were Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark and St. Petersburg Times columnist Howard Troxler, who both ranked Joshua’s essay first among the entries. Troxler said Joshua’s essay “best captured the concept of the importance of voting and the way that we translate that concept into a physical voting system.”
Clark agreed and was also impressed with the way Joshua “connected the sacrifices of our forefathers to ensure our freedom with the responsibility of Americans today to vote to honor their memory and preserve our freedom.”
Clark commended and thanked Joshua’s English teacher, Linda Smith, for encouraging her students to participate in the essay contest. “Her efforts helped make the contest successful,” Clark said.
Joshua thanked Clark for providing the essay contest scholarship and said he was grateful for the sacrifices of the men and women in uniform who helped guarantee our right to vote, because voting is important.
The scholarship presentation was made in Smith’s English class where Joshua wrote the essay.
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