Elk River High School junior Renee Holzknecht has won the State Peace Essay Contest.
She will represent Minnesota at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) National Peace Essay Contest.
In winning the state competition, she receives a $1,000 scholarship and is now eligible for a $10,000 national scholarship.
The national contest theme was “The impact of new media on peace building and conflict management.”
Holzknecht’s winning essay is entitled “Egypt, Iran, and Beyond: How New Media Is Their Voice and How Their Voice Can Be Protected.” She wrote the 1,500-word essay following these requirements:
Two foreign cases from the past 10 years of countries in transition from violent conflict to peace, where new media played a role.
Analyze the ways that new media, including relevant technologies, were used. If use of new media changed the conflict environment, explain what it changed and how. If not, explain why not.
What are the risks, trade-offs, and/or limitations involved in using new media as a peace building tool?
What recommendations would you make to policy makers for how new media can best be leveraged in building peace?
Holzknecht is an Honor Roll and National Honor Society student and dances with Just For Kix. As a seventh-grader at VandenBerge Middle School, she won a state poster award contest. She earned second place in this year’s Chase Korte Peace Essay competition.
In winning the state competition, Holzknecht receives a five-day, all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. this June. The program, according to the USIP website, “promotes an understanding of the nature and process of international peacemaking by focusing on a region and/or theme related to the current essay contest.”
Holzknecht is Elk River’s 10th state winner in the peace essay contest. Junior Nathan Webster also participated and received an honorable mention. Both are students in Denise Eidem’s Advanced Placement language and composition class.
“It is truly an honor to have another winner from Elk River High School,” said Eidem.