2022 WALKS Essay Contest

Dominic Balise ’24 and Sean Wilson ’24 were selected as finalists in the 2022 WALKS Constitutional Essay Contest. Sean is from South Africa and Dominic resides in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

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 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 59th 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.

The 2022 topic centered on the history of women’s rights in the United States, focusing specifically on the rights and status of women under the United States Constitution. Dominic’s essay centered on the threat that the current composition of the Supreme Court places on Roe vs. Wade. Sean’s essay outlined issues of discrimination faced by Chinese-American women. Dominic and Sean joined Head of School Charlie Cahn and classmate Norah Wright ’24 (from Ellington, Connecticut) at the essay contest dinner at Westminster. This year’s judges were John and Barbara McGrath. John McGrath is a judge and lawyer in Windham, Connecticut, and Barbara McGrath is executive director of the Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative.