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Why should you participate in the upcoming 2020 United States Census?

A contest sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Atlantic County challenged high school students to consider that question — and to create videos or songs to inspire their families, friends and neighbors to complete the census this coming spring.

Approximately $675 billion of federal money is made available each year nationwide for the needs of states, counties and municipalities in response to the results of the most recent census. Some of these needs are in housing, education, transportation, health care, employment and in the shaping of public policy decisions. Since the census happens only every 10 years, these decisions affect redistricting, reapportionment, demographic data and government resource allocation for the next decade.

Fifty-seven students from four high schools — Atlantic City, Cedar Creek, Egg Harbor Township and Hammonton — participated.

The awards ceremony was held at Stockton University on Dec. 5. Speakers included Jesse Connor, co-leader of the League of Women Voters of Atlantic County; Claire Abernathy, professor of political science at Stockton; Nancy Hedinger, president of the New Jersey League of Women Voters; and guest speaker Mary Coogan, vice president of advocates for children of New Jersey.

The first place video award went to “Count Me In” by Egg Harbor Township High School students Nardeen Saleep and Timothy Medina. Second place went to “Y Not Be Counted?” by Egg Harbor Township High School students Courtney Carmen, Malini Gulati and Megan Herbein. Third place went to “2020 Census” by Cedar Creek High School students Samantha Keough, Mahek Patel and Ava Zabelski.

Honorable mentions went to the team of Dezlin Alexander and Jamual Emerson from Atlantic City High School; the team of Azan Ali, Aidan Doyle and Alex Ntambwe from Cedar Creek; and three teams from EHT: Erin Maegerle, Liby Sb and Molly Maegerle; Joshua Camper, Jordan Camper and Muhammad Abbas; and Ethan Davis, Gianna Maldonado and Jeff Castro. Madeline Wentzel, also from EHT, won an honorable mention for her solo entry in the song category.

The sponsoring teachers included Atlantic City High School’s Kerri Harvey; Cedar Creek High School’s James Erney; Egg Harbor Township High School’s Michael Martirone and Leanna Mullen; and Hammonton High School’s Stacey Grant and Gary Joseph.

For questions and more information, please email ybcountedAC@gmail.com. To see the three top winning videos from the YBCounted Contest, go to the website of the New Jersey League of Women Voters, njlwv.com, and drop down to “Census 2020 Learn More Here.” For general census information, see census.gov or call 800-923-8282.

The Census will begin in March 2020, and the information may be provided by phone, mail, online or in person with a census taker.

Learn all you can about this important part of our democracy and help make sure that your community gets its fair share of funding, which can only happen if everyone takes part in the Census.

Go Green Galloway is a volunteer organization dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint of Galloway through the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation, environmental education and the implementation of sustainable practices. We always welcome new volunteer members. Contact us at gogreengalloway12@gmail.com or call Mary at 609-742-7076. Also be sure to like our Facebook page.

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