COSE Member The Gertsburg Law Firm, in conjunction with the Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce, recently wrapped up the second annual “We Solve Problems Essay Contest”. The contest challenges high school students to solve the problems that are most relevant to themselves and their peers.
Nearly 850 students from Chagrin Falls, Kenston, Newbury, and Orange high schools participated in the essay contest this year, which focused on solving the issue of texting and driving. Students’ 600-word essays were judged by 175 business and government leaders, with Jeff Hoffman, co-founder of Priceline.com, serving as a final judge.
“This year’s contest far exceeded all expectations,” said Alex Gertsburg, head of the Gertsburg Law Firm. “It brought business leaders and high school students together whereby the former trained the latter on solid communication and problem solving skills; it rewarded students and schools for their efforts in doing so; and, it focused the attention of thousands of people on solving a deadly problem.”
Twenty-seven finalists were honored with Benjamin Karyo, a Chagrin Falls High School Senior, taking top honors as the overall contest winner with his essay, “Can’t Let the Message Wait? We’ll Legislate Your Fate.” "This essay contest is such an important step in teaching our students to solve real problems in the world around them,” said Hoffman. “We are all so proud of how they stepped up, and of the many great ideas they proposed in the contest."
“I am so excited that these students will be members one day in my chamber or other chambers and the fact that they will be the future of the business world is even better,” said Molly Gebler, executive director of the Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The success of the contest relied on individual and corporate sponsors, as well as volunteer judges who read 10-15 essays over a three-week period. “It was powerful to see how the business community rallied around this contest,” added Gebler.
A total of $13,000 in prize money – funded by individual and corporate sponsors – was distributed among the finalists, including laptops for grade level winners and complimentary Pioneer Waterpark admission tickets for every participant. The 27 finalist essays may be read at https://www.gertsburglaw.com/essay.html.