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Madeline Gerig, a senior at Bethany Christian Schools in Goshen, Ind., earned grand prize for her essay on immigration in the MCC U.S. Washington Office annual essay contest. (Photo courtesy of Bethany Christian Schools)

Madeline Gerig, a senior at Bethany Christian Schools in Goshen, Ind., earned grand prize for her essay on immigration in the MCC U.S. Washington Office annual essay contest. (Photo courtesy of Bethany Christian Schools)

Essay contest winner explores root causes of immigration conflict

Jesse Epp-Fransen
March 28, 2013


WASHINGTON – Madeline Gerig, a senior at Bethany Christian Schools in Goshen, Ind., has earned grand prize for her essay on immigration in the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. Washington Office annual essay contest.

In her essay entitled “Roots in fear,” Gerig wrote about the bases of conflict over immigration and how this issue is experienced in the United States today. Gerig also described the role of Mennonite Church USA in responding to immigration and the need for the federal government to prioritize the issue.

“The root cause of tension surrounding immigration is racism,” wrote Gerig, whose home congregation is Assembly Mennonite Church in Goshen. “By building relationships with our neighbors and through fair policies, the nation can take the necessary steps in moving towards a more peaceful and prosperous society and government.”

In addition to the grand prize, national honorable mention prizes were awarded to Lea Graber of Freeman (S.D.) Academy and Jean Ahn and Natalie Thorne, both of Bethany Christian Schools. Graber’s essay examined the topic of gun violence, Ahn’s essay was titled “Fighting with love against human trafficking” and Thorne focused on creating a resolution to the Colombian conflict.

The essay contest highlights the perspectives of youth on significant public policy issues and promotes the involvement of young people in faithful witness to government authorities.

The contest is open to Anabaptist youth of high-school age and to all youth who attend Mennonite high schools. Entries are judged on the participants’ understanding of the issues, clarity of argument and degree of creativity in crafting thoughtful policy positions. Grand prize is $300, and honorable mention winners each receive $100.

Excerpts from the winning essays can be found at washingtonmemo.org.

Mennonite Central Committee: Relief, development and peace in the name of Christ