charter schools throughout Michigan, and of the thousands of parents, teachers, school leaders, and charter
school board members who are hard at work each day to help kids succeed.
In celebration of National Charter Schools Week (May 1 through 7) and to encourage charter school students to
every day, the Institute sponsored a statewide essay contest. The theme of the 2016 essay contest was “What
My Charter School Means to Me.” More than 200 students from every corner of the state submitted essays.
“I was so proud of each and every student who submitted an essay,” said James N. Goenner, Ph.D., President
and CEO of the Institute. “It’s clear these kids put a ton of effort into this and took this contest seriously. The
essays were moving and they inspired our hearts and minds. These essays are further proof of the positive
impact of charters in Michigan.”
The contest was open to students in middle school and high school. The Institute invited each student to tell
their story and share what their charter school means to them. Prizes were awarded for the first, second, and
third place winners in middle (6-8) and high school (9-12) divisions. First place winners of each division will be
invited to Lansing for special recognition.
The first place winner in the Middle School division is from Holly Academy in Oakland County. Audrey
Broadwater, an 8th grader at Holly Academy, wrote the winning essay. “Every student has a unique story and
it’s exciting to get a glimpse into the positive impact that charter schools have on their lives,” said Cindy
Schumacher, the Executive Director of The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central
Michigan University. “During National Charter Schools Week, it is important to recognize the efforts of
everyone involved in charter schools, but we must remain focused on what is most important – students.
Congratulations to all of the students who participated and for those who were recognized, especially Audrey
Broadwater at Holly Academy for her accomplishment.”
Audrey received $500 and a trophy. She will be invited to a special lunch with House Education Chair Amanda
Entries were reviewed by a panel of qualified judges. Winners were selected based on the originality of their
theme; how clearly the theme was expressed; and adherence to rules of grammar, punctuation, and style.
Copies of the winning essays are available at https://nationalcharterschools.org/essay-contest-winners/.