Julia MacDonald of Malden reads her essay “The Danger that Hides Everywhere,” which won first prize in the MMA’s 8th Grade Essay Contest, during the Friday banquet dinner on Jan. 19, 2018 at the MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show.

The MMA has launched its annual statewide eighth grade student essay contest, which was created to raise awareness about the many facets of local government and to encourage students to take an active interest in their hometown.

Eighth grade students will write about a political or community issue that affects the people of their city or town. They will describe what they would do as an elected leader of their city or town to bring positive change within their community regarding the issue.

Participation is open to every eighth grade student enrolled in a Massachusetts public school. Cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place. The first-place winner will also be invited to attend the Municipal Month celebration at the State House in May.

Contest materials will be mailed to communities that fill out commitment forms by the Feb. 25 deadline. Teachers, students and local officials can download relevant materials from the MMA website.

Municipal associations across the country report that student participation in similar contests is greater in communities where local officials have been in direct contact with schools. Winners usually come from classes where local officials have visited and discussed municipal government.

The contest deadline is March 22. Essays can be mailed by teachers or students to: MMA Essay Contest, 1 Winthrop Square, Boston, MA 02110.

For more information, contact contest coordinator Alandra Champion at (617) 426-7272, ext. 121, or achampion@mma.org.

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