Judge Eckels Honors Kids Doing the “Write” Thing

County Judge Robert Eckels hosted a luncheon June 4, 2002, honoring the top 104 students who participated in the Houston/Harris County Do the Write Thing Challenge, a nation-wide essay competition designed to encourage 7th and 8th grade students to write about the effects of youth violence and drug abuse and to offer solutions to these problems.

“Today our young people are exposed to violence and drugs at an early age,” said Judge Eckels, whose office has run the program in Harris County the last four years. “It is critical that we educate our children on these issues and allow them to become part of the solution.”

Carlee Goins, an 8th grader from Deer Park Junior High School, and Richard M. Post, III, a 7th grader from St. Vincent DePaul Catholic School, were selected as the National Finalists.

The Do the Write Thing Challenge is an initiative of the National Campaign to Stop Violence, a non-partisan, non-profit organization composed of business, community and governmental leaders who have come together to reduce youth violence in communities across the United States.

“The program has grown dramatically,” Judge Eckels said. “When we started it here four years ago, 800 essays were submitted. This year more than 2,000 essays were written from students at 49 schools and 17 school districts throughout Harris County. We also helped expand the program to Bexar, Ector and Dallas County.”

The essays are read by a panel of volunteer judges, who then select as “School Finalists” the boy and girl from each school who submit the most responsive entry. From these finalists, two are selected as “National Finalists.” A book with all 104 essays selected as “School Finalists” has been published and will be presented to the Library of Congress at a National Recognition Ceremony in Washington, DC, in July. Goins and Post will join Judge Eckels at the ceremony.