About Derek Nguyen: Hello there! I’m the rank one sophomore at Roman Catholic High School. There’s nothing to really praise me for, and there’s also not much else to say about me. I serve Mass at Holy Innocents Parish from time to time and casually play chess, too. Unlike others, I tend to not talk about any of my achievements. It’s not that I don’t care about them. I just don’t appreciate attention all that much, and I don’t think other people should care too much about them when they could be striving for their own achievements.

Judges' statement

This was a strong entry. We liked the thoughtfulness of Derek’s essay and the way he expressed what the opportunity to do a map meant to him. He explained his values and why they were important to him. It was clear that he put a lot of thought into his goals and stuck to them. He hit most of his targets.

Personal statement

Considering the trials and tribulations of getting this map to work in the way I wanted, this was a unique experience. I can't say that anyone else ever tasked me with creating a map of this scale.

Anyway, I made this with my own personal beliefs of how this map should be made. To an extent, making sure that districts are "competitive" is contradictory. I realize that it is to ensure that neither party is at an advantage, but it is unnecessary. If there are already statistics of the number of Democrats and Republicans, a vote would never be needed.

Thus, I created districts without much regard for this "competitiveness." Making sure that the districts were of somewhat equal population was a given for anything to be balanced. I don't want to discriminate in anyway when I say this, but I didn't really care for the "majority, minority" scale. A person is a person no matter the race, nationality and gender, so creating a map with that in mind would lead to a district where a minority would have more weight than the entire district if that makes any sense.

For a sixteen-year old kid to even have a chance at possibly shaping his future is kind of cool, and I am really glad to have this opportunity, so I give a final thank you.