CCAC students and staff receive accolades in Draw the Lines PA competition

Article by: CCAC Public Relations

PITTSBURGH—Two teams from the Community College of Allegheny County have been named regional winners in the Draw the Lines PA competition. Team ‘Wild Card’ from CCAC North Campus received an Honorable Mention in the Higher Ed-West category, and Team CCAC South received an Honorable Mention in the Adult-West category. 

Draw the Lines PA is a civic education and engagement initiative sponsored by the Committee of Seventy, a nonprofit good government group based in Pennsylvania. The Draw the Lines PA competition asks participants to redraw congressional districts for the commonwealth. Using a software program called District Builder, anyone can draft a map and submit it for a chance to win $500 in the regional competition and a statewide prize of $4,500.  

Team Wild Card comprised CCAC North Campus students Jeffrey Elms, Ian Bookser, Will White, John Bender, Logan Pilardi, Brian Kress and Steven Maskiewicz. The team’s submission, according to the judges’ statement, was valued for its team approach and the earnest effort to create a fair map. Based on the metrics the group decided to value most, they did a nice job.”  The group’s interest in redrawing the state lines derived from what they learned about the gerrymandering issue in their American Government class. The group primarily focused on population equivalence, trying to get as close to an equal amount of residents as possible for all 17 districts.

Team CCAC South comprised administrators Dean Jolin, assistant dean, Student Development; Dr. Kelli Maxwell, associate provost; Darren Lesher, student success coach; and Steven Shaulis, Perkins Career & Technical Education director. They drew upon their experiences as educators and discussions they had with their students. The ultimate aim of the higher education professionals, in their words, was to “ensure our students have a voice, a family-sustaining wage and equitable representation in the political landscape.” According to the judges, the range of challenges that were addressed through the group entry “exemplified the community-based approach to mapping voting districts.” 

These and other winners will be recognized at the Draw the Lines PA awards event in Harrisburg on September 24. They will have the opportunity to share their maps with their state representatives to help drive redistricting reform and voice their opinions about how voting maps should be drawn.

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