Second Annual Zelda Glazer Civil Liberties Writing Competition Essays Convey Diverse Issues

May 12, 2008

ACLU of Florida Media Office: (786) 363-2737 or

MIAMI – The American Civil Liberties Foundation of Florida announced the winners of the second annual Zelda Glazer Civil Liberties Writing Competition on Friday, May 9 at the annual ACLU of Florida Greater Miami Chapter Law Day event. The winners, all Miami-Dade Public School high school seniors, were joined by their teachers and instructional supervisors of the Miami-Dade County Public School’s Division of Language Arts/Reading, an instrumental partner of the competition.

All of the winning essays can be viewed online at:

First place winner Noel Kassewitz, a student in Voncia Barno’s class at Coral Reef Senior High School, submitted an essay comparing a society where the government could arrest and imprison a citizen arbitrarily in the absence of the constitutional protections granted in the Bill of Rights. “It would be an odious world indeed if what people feared most at night was not burglary, but the government,” she said. Kassewitz was awarded $1,500 to pursue her undergraduate degree at the University of Florida.

Second place winner Bernadette Guerra, a student of Ms. T. Simpson at American Senior High School won for her heartfelt essay regarding freedom of speech. She hopes her future career in Journalism will enable her to “help restore the dignity and poise of a voice.” She was awarded $1,000 to pursue an undergraduate degree at The University of Florida.

Third place winner Fabiana Ferrer, a student in Martha Cabrera’s class at Miami Springs High School, wrote that even in a post 9/11 world “The United States’ principals of freedom which separate this nation from dictatorships” must be upheld. She will use her $500 award to pursue higher education at FIU.

The ACLU of Florida’s writing competition is an opportunity to recognize civil liberties scholarship that enhances an understanding of the principles of the U.S. Constitution. Student submissions were reviewed by a panel of judges comprised of noted civil libertarians, recognized educators, constitutional attorneys and ACLU members and leaders in the Greater Miami area. They chose the winning essays based on the student’s passion, content, writing proficiency, originality, focus and organization.

Established in 2007, the Zelda Glazer Scholarship Fund honors the memory and lifelong work of an amazing woman who for more than 40 years worked as a beloved Miami-Dade County Public School Language Arts teacher and administrator. Glazer was a dedicated advocate for civil liberties in our schools and community, and she worked hard to uphold our constitutional rights, especially for students in the areas of speech and journalism. This writing competition is close to the hearts of ACLU members across Miami-Dade County and Florida and to the students and teachers of Miami-Dade County Public Schools who were touched by Glazer. The essay competition will be held annually.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For additional information, visit our Web site at:

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