Monday, February 25, 2013

Illinois High School Students Participate in the Annual European Union Center Essay Contest

In 2012, several high school students across the state of Illinois participated in an essay contest sponsored by the University of Illinois European Union Center. This annual competition is an opportunity for high-achieving high school students to showcase their knowledge on EU-US relations. This year’s topic was “Competition and Cooperation.”

Contest winner Chris Lanza and His Excellency Michael Collins, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States
The annual essay contest is one way the EU Center promotes learning and curriculum building on the European Union in Illinois secondary schools. Another program is the annual summer study tour to Europe for educators, university students, and faculty and staff from the ten U.S. EU Centers of Excellence (EUCE), organized by the UNC-Chapel Hill EUCE on behalf of the Network of EUCEs. The European  Union’s EUCE grant funds the study tour and the anticipated trip dates this year are June 15-21, 2013. One spot on the study tour is reserved for the teacher of the first place student from the Illinois EU Center essay contest.

The EU Center congratulates the following students selected as the winners by a review panel of EU experts at the University of Illinois:
  • First place: Chris Lanza, Jr., Bartlett High School, for his essay The EU: Balance or Bust. Chris earned a $200 cash prize and his teacher, Larry Pahl, will participate in a study tour to Europe this summer.
  • Second place: Abigail Johnson, Oakwood High School, for her essay Collaboration for the Future: A Brief Look into Fusion Energy. Abigail earned a $100 cash prize.
  • Third place: Shruti Africawala, Elgin High School, for her essay A Binding Spark. Shruti earned a $50 cash prize.
The winning essays can be found on the EU Center’s website at The winning students, their families and teachers were invited to the EU Center’s EU Day Luncheon on February 15, 2013. The essay contest winners were recognized during an awards ceremony at the luncheon. 

The annual EU Day is the EU Center’s signature event. His Excellency Michael Collins, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, delivered this year’s keynote “State of the European Union” address. Other distinguished guests included Consuls General and representatives from several European consulates in Chicago, and legislators from the Illinois State Senate and House of Representatives.

The EU Center is always looking to connect with more K-12 schools and educators and the Center invites all interested schools and students to participate in future events. Please check the EU Center website this coming fall for details on the 2013 Essay Contest, and visit our website for various other opportunities for K-12 educators and students.

Contact: University of Illinois European Union Center,
328 International Studies Building, 910 S. Fifth Street, Champaign, IL 61820
Ph: (217) 265-7515


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