Billy Gardiner (Roman Catholic HS, Philadelphia) - Honorable Mention, Eastern Youth

About Billy: I am from Wyncote, PA, and am currently a junior at Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia. I am a school ambassador, trombone player in the band, runner, and baseball player. I have run cross country and played baseball since kindergarten.

Judges' Statement

As a previous winner, you can quickly tell that Billy is an experienced mapper. And judging by the strength of the eastern youth region, so have his fellow mappers. This map, with a supreme population equivalance score and balanced metrics elsewhere, would have been a contender in earlier years. 

Explore the map

Endorsements: 1

Personal Statement

In the Fall, my teacher introduced my class to the importance of ending gerrymandering. One aspect of that lesson was having us participate in the Fall 2019 competition for Draw the Lines. It was an interesting and challenging assignment, and I can say that I did far better than I expected after making my first map.

With my first map, I decided to make my areas of priority competitive elections, contiguity, and equal population. The importance of having competitive elections lies in the fact that I believe they are the only thing that makes democracy work, any map that isn’t contiguous is unconstitutional and almost certainly gerrymandered, and the closer all districts are to the target population, the more equal of a voice each Pennsylvania citizen has when they vote.

With this map, I decided to challenge myself. I used my first map as a guideline and sought to keep the same number of competitive districts. However, my main goal was to get a population equivalency of under 1,000.

This task required much manipulation, as the two districts with the greatest difference in population were often not bordering each other. Even when they were, a trade off of even a few hundred citizens could derail my progress. When my goal was finally met, I was able to get the population equivalency down to a fine 822. The only major sacrifice I needed to make was in making my compactness go down almost 6%. Nonetheless, I was still satisfied in having it be over 30% as a whole.

Once again, I would like to thank my teachers and peers for giving me the best opportunities to thrive in this project and elsewhere. Despite the uncertainty that our world faces right now, that they are doing their best to educate, be educated, and make our society better.