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Youth "Do The Write Thing"

Awards Luncheon April 28 at the Governor's Mansion

SALT LAKE CITY, (April 28, 2006) - "Why do people just sit around and watch or just ignore the situation when they know that it is wrong. I think that the worst thing that any one can do when violence happens is to sit around and not do anything about it. I know that I have just sat around watching people get bullied before, but I promise that I will not do it again," wrote one of the finalists in his entry to the Do the Write Thing Challenge.

Friday, April 28, the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice (UBJJ) will honor 14 middle school students for their written entries to Utah's Sixth Annual Do the Write Thing Challenge. The award luncheon will be held at the Governor's Mansion located at 603 East South Temple Street from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Utah's State Finalists are:

Emily Bennett, Dixie Middle School
Kimilyn Poulson, Ephraim Middle School
Priscilla Faasootauloa, Northwest Middle School
Braden Roberts, Ephraim Middle School
David Hight, FOCUS School
Freddy Rosales, Northwest Middle School
Jayson Isbell, Elk Ridge Middle School
Shiree Russell, FOCUS School
Ben Jacobsen, Ephraim Middle School
Marissa Trujillo, West Jordan Middle School
Josh Limb, South Summit Middle School
Mike Whiteside, Dixie Middle School
Sarena Masco, Ephraim Middle School
Natalie Young, South Summit Middle School

This national event, sponsored in part by the Kuwait-America Foundation, invites 7th and 8th grade students to write how violence has affected their lives and what can be done to prevent violence in their community. School districts reported that more than 900 students participated from across Utah, with most submitting essays. The finalists selected by UBJJ were then forwarded to Utah's nine VIP judges. Among these judges were Congressman Jim Matheson, Judge Andrew Valdez, Lou Callister, Brent and Bonnie Beesley, Richard Paul Evans, Olympian Billy Schuffenhauer, and Jamie Watson of REAL Salt Lake.

Utah's two top winners will participate with other National Finalists at the Do the Write Thing National Recognition Ceremony in Washington, D.C. this July. Finalists are scheduled to meet with members of Congress to discuss the problem of youth violence. They will also attend a reception hosted by the Ambassador to the United States for the State of Kuwait. A book containing the students' writings will be placed in the Library of Congress.

The teacher of a former essay winner expressed her amazement at the articulate and successful student that has emerged since the recognition of her essay, "She has shed the cloak of 'the victim' and embraced life finally as one who is in control of her own destiny."

Please call (801) 801-538-1052 to attend the luncheon honoring these students.

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