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Essay contest winner is named by Ridgewood Complete Count Committee

Ridgewood Mayor Ramon Hache's Complete Count Committee for Census 2020 conducted an essay contest in April for high school students that was designed to promote the census. Forty-six students submitted essays, and many wrote smart, engaging, informative and/or creative essays such that it was very difficult to choose just one. It appears from the corresponding increase in the self-response rate that holding the contest resulted in many students convincing their own parents to fill out the census. Ridgewood's self-response rate is currently at 79.2 percent, so the Committee is still working on encouraging Ridgewood residents to fill out the census.

After much deliberation, the Committee has selected Brandon Lee, Class of 2021, as the winner and will award him a check for $500. The second-place winner was Theodore Moll, Class of 2020, and the third-place winner was Aiko Schinasi, Class of 2020. Four other students deserve honorable mention: Ella Dusci, Hunter Haglid, Nicole Kye and Catherine Chu.

All of the winning essays were thoughtfully written and edited, engaging and reflected thorough research and/or inventiveness in generating ideas for how to help Ridgewood promote the census. Many essays were inclusive in terms of thinking of many of the different groups and communities that must be counted and reasons for counting them and knowing where they are located, including the elderly, children, peo-

See WINNER, Page 9A

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ple belonging to groups whose voting rights have been denied or jeopardized, people whose primary language is not English and people with disabilities.

The Committee wishes to thank all of the students for participating in the contest. The Committee also reminds all residents who have not yet filled out Census 2020 to visit my2020census.org or call 844-330-2020 to fill it out and do their part to support the community's representation in Congress and proper allocation of federal dollars, among other important objectives of the census. The census can be taken in 59 languages, and all answers to the census are kept 100 percent confidential, even from other federal agencies.

Shown is a zoom photo of the June 10, Ridgewood Council meeting where Brandon Lee was presented with a check for $500. PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN WINOGRAD

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