2021 WALKS Essay Contest

Nate Morrin ’23 was selected as the winner of the 2021 WALKS Constitutional Essay Contest during a virtual awards program held on May 11. This year’s topic examined voting rights in America and the long-running debate over what counts as voter suppression versus what are legitimate regulations on voting to protect fraud. 

WALKS is a collaboration between five Greater Hartford area independent schools—Westminster, Avon Old Farms, Loomis Chaffee, Kingswood Oxford, and Suffield, and has advocated for academic achievement and accessible education, especially for underserved young people in our area, for more than 60 years. 

WALKS also focuses on the annual Constitutional Essay Contest, and the awarding at each of our schools of the Barnes Service Prize, which recognizes community service efforts and honors Hap and Betty Barnes (and the Barnes Foundation), long-time supporters of WALKS.

This was the 58th anniversary of the essay contest, which was established in the early 1960s to stimulate further study of the Constitution, its origins, fundamental principles, and the application of the Constitution in vital areas. While many students can submit papers for the contest each history department selects two finalists. These ten essays are then read—anonymously—and critiqued by the contest judge who selects two runners up and a winner. Suffield’s Daniel Ennis ’21 was the first runner up. This is the second consecutive WALKS Essay Contest won by a Suffield student. Cassie Dumay ’21 was the 2019 winner. The contest was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s judge was Grace Oboma Layat ’87, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Practice of New York, the largest non-profit law firm in the country.