High School Essay Contest

2014 Essay Winner

Justina Chen, a senior at Interlake High School in Bellevue, is the winner of the 2014 Scott Johnson Open Government Essay Contest. She is the daughter of Peter and Jenny Chen of Newcastle. Justina will enroll this fall to study engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Chen will receive a $1,000 cash prize. The contest, open to all Washington high school seniors and juniors, honors Scott Johnson, a longtime board member for the Washington Coalition for Open Government. Johnson was elected as a King County Superior Court Judge in 2012 but died of a heart attack before he could take office. The contest is co-sponsored by WCOG and the Stokes Lawrence law firm in Seattle, where Johnson served as an attorney for many years.

Click here to read Justina's Essay.

2014 Runner Ups:

Emily Halvorson
Brian Sonderen

2013 Winning Essays:
1st Place Winner, Daniel Manwell: Click here to read essay
Runner Up, Nicole Laliberte: Click here to read essay

2014 Essay Contest PDF

For more information about the contest or the Washington Coalition for Open Government, contact

Stokes Lawrence is proud to be the primary sponsor of the Washington Coalition for Open Government's Scott Johnson Open Government Essay. Scott was a long-time shareholder at Stokes Lawrence and active with open government and First Amendment issues. He previously served as the Coalition's director. Following Scott's untimely passing in October 2012, the Coalition was a primary beneficiary of memorials collected in Scott's name by the Stokes Lawrence Foundation. Stokes Lawrence, with offices in Seattle and Yakima, represents individuals, entrepreneurs and their families, small businesses, non-profit organizations and Fortune 500 companies. Please visit for further information.

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