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Middle schoolers win essay contest

From MMA

AUGUSTA – Middle school students from Kittery, Poland and Trenton were named winners in Maine Municipal Association’s 10th annual statewide essay contest, which carried the theme: “If I Led My Community…”

Part of MMA’s Citizen Education program, the contest asked students to demonstrate how they would improve their hometowns and cities if they held positions of local leadership. The essay contest marked its 10th year in 2021, with more than 1,500 entries submitted over that 10-year time period. Essays were judged based on knowledge of municipal government; writing quality and clarity; and originality.

The 2021 winners are Lucia Bolanos, of the Shapleigh School (a resident of Kittery); Ada Stenhouse, of Bruce M. Whittier Middle School in Poland; and, Aerie Yin, of Trenton Elementary School. Each student will receive a certificate and a $250 prize to be used for educational purposes.

The awards will be presented by municipal officials in their hometowns.

Winning entries also will be published in the May 2021 issue of Maine Town & City, MMA’s monthly magazine, which is mailed to 4,300 municipal officials statewide and posted at the MMA website (

MMA’s Citizen Education program aims to educate citizens of all ages about the importance, accessibility and effectiveness of municipal government. The essay contest, and high school curriculum developed in cooperation with Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, have the dual purpose of educating young people about local government and encouraging them to get involved as future elected or appointed officials, or as municipal employees.

Founded in 1936, MMA is a voluntary, non-partisan, member-service organization to which 484 municipalities in Maine belong. It has a core belief that local government is a fundamental component of a democratic system of government. MMA’s services include advocacy, education and information, professional legal and personnel advisory services and self-funded group insurance programs.

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