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Congressman holds Inaugural Address Competition for students

January 16, 2013

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Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., explains congressional districting to students at Groves High School Jan. 9.

As President Barack Obama prepares for his second inaugural address, students across metro Detroit are being asked to share their own visions for the country’s future.

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., stopped by Groves High School Jan. 9 to visit an Advanced Placement government class and speak with students about his 30-year career in Congress. While he was there, he announced a competition open to high school students throughout the 9th Congressional District, inviting students to record and submit their own inaugural addresses on Levin’s website.

According to a statement released by Levin’s office, students can upload their two-three minute videos to the congressman’s website through Jan. 25, addressing “the nation” with their own opinions and ideas on where the country is and where it should be heading in the coming years.

Each student who participates will receive a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, and finalists will be featured on the congressman’s website. The winner, chosen by a judging panel of local residents, will be announced the week of Jan. 28 and will be invited to have lunch with Levin.

“I look forward to seeing how our talented high school students combine the rich history of presidential inaugural addresses with their own visions for the future,” said Levin in the statement. “Inaugurations are a great opportunity for us to look both to the future — and the past — and celebrate our great nation.”

The Groves students present for Levin’s announcement Jan. 9 were excited to hear from the congressman, who discussed new district boundary changes, a few historical inaugural speeches, and topics the president could possibly talk about when he presents his second inaugural address Jan. 21. According to Anne Cron of Birmingham Public Schools’ community relations, the junior- and senior-level AP government students were pleased to receive their lesson for the day from an experienced politician.

Class instructor Robert Divizio said he will encourage his students to participate in the competition.

“This contest will give the students a chance to go back and read historical inaugural speeches and reflect on how they relate to the challenges we face as a country today,” said Divizio in an email. “I think this contest will generate some real excitement.”

One student who plans to record an inaugural address entry is Rebecca Starr of Franklin, who is a junior at Groves. 

“I do think I will do the project. I have learned so much in my AP government class, and it’s really got me interested in our government, and I think it’s important to know what challenges we’re facing as a country. This is a great opportunity to take a closer look at that,” said Starr.

Participating students must attend high school in Michigan’s 9th District, which due to recent redistricting has changed. A complete list of communities in the district can be found on the congressman’s website. Students without video recording equipment can schedule an appointment to record a video at Levin’s district office in Roseville by calling (586) 498-7122.

More information on the contest, including details on how to submit videos online, can be found at

About the author

Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki covers Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Franklin and Bingham Farms along with Birmingham Public Schools, Oakland County Parks and Recreation and Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center. Esshaki has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2011 and attended the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Oakland Community College.

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