Imagine Scholars Emphasize Resilience in 2020 National Character Essay Contest

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A Message from Imagine Schools CEO & President, Jason Bryant:

The 2020 National Character Essay Contest was a great success! With 46 schools participating, and 206 entries, many talented young Imagine Schools’ writers demonstrated understanding of complex maxims related to this year’s theme of Resilience.

A panel of seventeen judges awarded first, second and third place winning essays for each grade, and where appropriate, several additional essays received honorable mention. We are grateful for your commitment to help students become reflective thinkers and grow as writers and young people of character.


Third Grade:

1st Place: Isabella Zuniga — Imagine Rosefield (AZ)

2nd Place: Natalie Feliciano — Imagine Chancellor (FL)

3rd Place: Julia Manino — Imagine Lakewood Ranch (FL)

Honorable Mention: Layla Escobar — Imagine North Manatee (FL)

Honorable Mention: Elier A. Lopez — Imagine Kissimmee (FL)

Honorable Mention: Kinlee Turner — Imagine Firestone (CO)

Fourth Grade:

1st Place: Avery D. Malone — Imagine Hope Tolson (D.C.)

2nd Place: Amogh Barath — Imagine North Texas (TX)

3rd Place: Conner Haysbrook — Imagine Town Center (FL)

Honorable Mention: Isabella Moya — Imagine South Lake (FL)

Honorable Mention: Calvin Helstrom — Imagine Lakewood Ranch (FL)

Fifth Grade:

1st Place: Xavier Sandoval — Imagine Avondale (AZ)

2ndPlace: Avani Harrypersad — Imagine Broward (FL)

3rd Place: Miley Cox — Imagine Rosefield (AZ)

Honorable Mention: Brinlee Phillips — Imagine East Mesa (AZ)

Honorable Mention: Shaelee Yarbrough — Imagine Land O’Lakes (FL)

Honorable Mention: Harlem Garner — Imagine Hope Tolson (D.C.)

Sixth Grade:

1st Place: Kaya Benjamin — Imagine Foundations at Morningside (MD)

2nd Place: Cadence Worth — Imagine North Port Upper (FL)

3rd Place: Aubrey McClure — Imagine South Vero (FL)

Honorable Mention: Liana Espinal — Imagine Bell Canyon (AZ)

Honorable Mention: Jerry Patrick Jr. — Imagine Klepinger (OH)

Honorable Mention: Angel Carrera Villanueva — Imagine Groveport MS (OH)

Seventh Grade:

1st Place: Makenna Baca — Imagine Prep Surprise (AZ)

2nd Place: Kimberly Ung Davy — Imagine South Vero (FL)

3rd Place: Azalia Staton — Imagine Lakewood Ranch (FL)

Honorable Mention: Emily Willkom — Imagine Bell Canyon (AZ)

Honorable Mention: Melanie Varela — Imagine Desert West MS (AZ)

Eighth Grade:

1st Place: Zamiya Franklin — Imagine Hope Tolson (D.C.)

2nd Place: Nathan Suniphon — Imagine South Vero (FL)

3rd Place: Isabella Medina — Imagine Prep Surprise (AZ)

Honorable Mention: Luca Ferrucho — Imagine Plantation (FL)

Honorable Mention: Karely Morales — Imagine North Manatee (FL)

High School:

1st Place: Christopher Kertesz — Imagine Prep Surprise (AZ)

2nd Place: Madeline Chiba-McGovern — Imagine Prep Superstition (AZ)

3rd Place: Maya Ortiz – Imagine Prep Surprise (AZ)

Honorable Mention: Ashlen Cahall – Imagine North Port Upper (FL)

Honorable Mention: Shaylyn Hartnell – Imagine Prep Surprise (AZ)

First, second, and third place winners will receive specially selected books on character, which are personalized and dedicated for each winner. First place winners will also receive personalized trophies. In addition, all winners listed above will receive certificates celebrating their achievements.

We are proud of your efforts to integrate character and academics in purposeful and meaningful ways!


Jason Bryant

CEO & President, Imagine Schools

Thank you to our 2020 National Character Essay Contest Judges

Diane Beatty

Jason Bryant

Jacob Bryant

Vivian Edisis

Nashandra Ellis-Hicks

Alex Fernandez

Jennifer Fornes

Karen Gayle

Nancy Hall

Marla Knepper

Lance Pace

Nadja Pardo

Barry Sharp

Anne Sharp

Stephania Sherman

Shawn Toler

Gabriella Vidak

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