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Pictured above are the organizers and winners of the Jane Addams Day 2015 Essay Contest. In the front row, from left, are Breanna Hall (second place), Samantha Mattsey (first place) and Hannah Puccini (third place). In the back row, from left, are Brock Bainter (Eighth grade social studies teacher), Tamaria Young (WIU Women’s Center social work volunteer), Katlin Denoto (Women’s Center social work volunteer), Janeli Montemayor (Women’s Center social work volunteer) and Janine Cavicchia (Director of WIU’s Women’s Center).
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WIU Women's Center Announces Jane Addams Essay Contest Winners

December 9, 2015

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MACOMB, IL - Three Macomb Junior High School students were named winners of an essay contest sponsored by the Western Illinois University Women's Center, Department of Social Work and the Social Work Student Organization in honor of the state's ninth annual Jane Addams Day.

The contest asked local junior high students to submit a 500-word essay about how Jane Addams made a difference in American society. The winners were Samantha Mattsey, first place; Breanna Hall, second place; and Hannah Puccini, third place. All of the winners are students in Brock Bainter's junior high social studies class.

Organizers and judges for this year's contest were Women's Center volunteers Katlin Denoto, a senior social work major of South Beloit (IL); Janeli Montemayor, a senior social work major of Gurnee (IL); and Tamaria Young, a junior social work major, of Oak Park (IL).

According to Women's Center Director Janine Cavicchia, Addams was a social reformer and was instrumental in the establishment of the social work field.

Addams, who was born in Cedarville (IL), was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She also founded Hull House, which became an internationally-famous settlement house that initiated the development of the social work profession through its programs to enhance health, literacy, workplace safety, education, justice for children, outreach to oppressed immigrant groups and social investigations.

In 2006, then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed legislation proclaiming Dec. 10 as Jane Addams Day. On that date, in 1931, Addams became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Peace, honoring her for her commitment to finding an end to war by serving as president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom from 1919 to 1929.

"We appreciate that Mr. Bainter encourages his students to enter this contest as part of their social studies curriculum. It's a great way for the students to learn about the significant impact she had on our society and write essays about how her work continues to be relevant today," Cavicchia said.

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