We’re pleased to announce the winners of The Nation‘s fifth annual Student Writing Contest!

This year we asked students to send us an original, unpublished, 800-word essay detailing how their education has been compromised by budget cuts and tuition hikes. We received hundreds of submissions from high school and college students in forty-four states. We chose one college and one high school winner and ten finalists total.

Congratulations to the winners, Amanda Lewan of Michigan State University and Melissa Parnagian of Old Bridge High School in New Jersey. They each receive a cash award of $1,000; the finalists receive $200 each. All receive Nation subscriptions. Many thanks to the IF Stone Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute for its generosity in making this contest possible.


Amanda Lewan, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Melissa Parnagian, Old Bridge High School, Matawan, New Jersey


Candace Begody, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
John Connelly, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Deric Mendes, College of the Redwoods, Eureka, California
Dan Treadway, University of Texas, Austin, Texas
Adam Zobel, New England College, Henniker, New Hampshire

High School
Hasan Habib, Cherry Hill High School, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Hishaam Habib, Cherry Hill High School, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Sam Levine, Bard High School Early College, New York City
Demetrius Shahmehri, Northampton High School, Northampton, Massachusetts
Tanner Simmonds, Westview High School, Portland, Oregon