The University of Nebraska at Kearney is recognizing eight high schoolers for their outstanding writing abilities.

Sponsored by the UNK Writing Center, American Democracy Project and Phi Eta Sigma and Sigma Tau Delta honor societies, the second annual Nebraska Emerging Writers Contest gave students from across the state an opportunity to showcase their talent while competing for cash prizes.

Participants submitted an essay, poem or short story about democracy and what it means today. The theme was based on “The Meaning of Democracy” essay written by American author E.B. White during World War II. Organizers aimed to promote literacy by encouraging young people to make sense of these transformative times through the act of writing.

The winning students are invited to read their submissions April 22 at the annual language and literature conference hosted by the UNK Department of English.

In the Essay Category Second place was awarded to  Maggie Haesler, Mullen High School, “Advantages of a Democracy”