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West Hartford Student Wins ‘WALKS’ Constitutional Essay Contest

Braden Flowers. Courtesy photo

Kingswood Oxford senior Braden Flowers is the winner of the WALKS Constitutional Essay Contest.

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Braden Flowers ‘21 was recently selected as the WALKS Constitutional Essay winner for 2019-2020.

WALKS is a consortium of five Hartford-area independent schools comprised of Westminster, Avon Old Farms, Loomis Chaffee, Kingswood Oxford, and Suffield Academy, and their Constitutional essay has been an annual event for 58 years. Each year, the member schools select two essay writers from their junior history classes to submit to the overall contest under a selected topic. This year students researched and wrote on the topic of “presidential use of executive orders.”

Essays are read and voted on by an external judge selected by the host school on a rotating basis. This year the judge was Laura Baldini, KO class of ‘88, who is the presiding judge of criminal matters for the Hartford District Superior Court, where she has been since 2010.

“I really enjoy history, and thought it was a great opportunity to be able to dive into this very nuanced historical and political topic,” said Flowers. “I learned so much about American government and politics through researching the history of executive power. I’m happy I did it, and humbled that history teachers from all these schools enjoyed it and thought it was well done.”

Ahana Nagarkatti ‘21 was also selected to represent Kingswood Oxford in the contest. Typically the schools come together to celebrate the nominees with a dinner, and announce the top three winners. This past spring Kingswood Oxford was on deck to host the event, but unfortunately it was not able to be held due to COVID-19.

In addition to his passion for history, Flowers is active in many clubs and organizations including being the vice president of Forensic Union, co-chair of the Model UN team, a member of the Shield & Dragons. He also plays soccer and runs track & field.

The last time Kingswood Oxford took first place was In 2015 when junior Ben Waldman won the contest.

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