LMS student wins national essay contest

LMS student wins national essay contest
Posted on 11/04/2019
Lake Middle School eighth grade student Alexis Casner won the 2019 Maurice R. Hilleman Essay Contest offered by the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She accepted the award at an awards ceremony held at the hospital in September.

Alexis won for her 600-word essay on “How would the world be different if Dr. Hilleman had not lived the life he did?” Dr. Hilleman was a microbiologist, who specialized in vaccinology, who developed more than 40 vaccines, including measles, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningitis, pneumonia and rubella. His vaccines have been credited with saving millions of lives and with eradicating common childhood diseases. In her essay, Alexis explored the heartbreak families would experience watching children suffer without the protection of vaccines.

Alexis read her essay at the awards ceremony. Dr. Paul A. Offit presented her with the award. Dr. Offit is the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, and a Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lake Middle School Language Arts Teacher Shantelle Lafontaine-Larson introduced the essay contest in class and encouraged students to participate. Science Teacher Andrew Craig sponsored Alexis’ submission and will receive a signed copy of Dr. Hilleman’s biography “Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases” written by Dr. Offit.

Two other students from Tennessee and Montana were also named as winners in the competition. You can read Alexis’ winning essay here.

(Photo, left to right: Dr. Paul A. Offit and Alexis Casner.)