A Beverly Hills High School senior has won the $7,500 grand prize at the 2021 We the Students Essay Contest by writing about the relationship between equality and justice, it was announced Thursday.

Sarah Schleinkofer won the top prize at the Bill of Rights Institute’s annual contest.

“Justice matters,” the teen wrote in her essay. “Justice is undeniably linked to equality of opportunity. Achieving equality is complex and lies at the heart of our country’s most vexing debates. It forces us to balance appropriate incentives against accessibility to the rights that lie at the heart.”

In her essay, she noted a number of challenges facing the country including income inequality, racial divisions and inequities in the criminal justice system.

Schleinkofer’s favorite subjects are English and calculus, and she is captain of the school’s lacrosse team. Immigration law, criminal justice reform and equity/equality are three of the most important issues to her, and her future plans include studying law and becoming a defense attorney.

She said she finds politics “fascinating” and the legal system equally “intriguing.”

Theint Lei, a student at Temple City High School, won an Honorable Mention scholarship prize of $500.

The essay prompt this year was, “What is the relationship between equality and justice?” More than 6,000 essays were submitted by students from across the United States.

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