Secretary Hargett Presented Pope John Paul II Student Matthew Shipley with Award for First Place in Civics Essay Contest

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Secretary of State Tre Hargett presented Pope John Paul II High School student Matthew Shipley with an award today for his first-place finish in the statewide 2020 Civics Essay Contest for students who served as poll officials in the presidential election.

“Although his November birthday fell too late for him to cast a ballot, Matthew empowered his classmates, neighbors, family, friends and many he’ll never know to make their voice be heard by serving as a poll official,” said Secretary Hargett. “He along with everyone who served their community as poll officials helped to ensure a safe and smooth election even with the uncertainty of the pandemic.”

This year’s civics essay contest was open to any Tennessee high school student, age 16 or older, who worked as a poll official during early voting or on Election Day for the presidential election.

First, second and third place winners were chosen from each Grand Division. For his first-place finish, Shipley received a $1,000 TNStars 529 College Savings Program scholarship.

This essay contest is part of the Secretary of State’s civics engagement initiative to prepare students to be actively engaged citizens. For more information about the essay contest and our other civic engagement education efforts, visit