Two Gould Academy students are among the winners of the Camden Conference’s annual Bill Taylor Award for their essay related to the 2022 Conference, Europe: Challenged at Home and Abroad.

Thomas Lowell was the second prize winner, and Burke MacLeay shared third prize with Samantha Goodwin of Piscataquis Community High School. Pisctaquis student Ruth O. Griffith won first prize, according to a news release from the nonprofit organization.

Thomas Lowell Submitted photo

Lowell was praised by the judges for a “well developed and strongly argued” case for containment of Russia’s current and future incursions, for expansion of NATO membership, and for continued E.U./U.S. collaboration and U.S. military support of Ukraine. When notified of his award, Lowell praised his AP Government teacher Adam Leff, who “inspired me to write the paper and instilled my love of government studies.”

Burke MacLeay Submitted photo

MacLeay discussed in his essay the weakness of the European Union’s response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The judges said MacLeay’s essay was a “well written and focused” analysis of the E.U.’s inability to act as a peacemaker in the Ukraine conflict.

The Bill Taylor Award was created by its namesake in 2015 to promote student research. Taylor was a long-time Camden Conference supporter with a strong interest in education.

The Camden Conference education programs are designed to promote knowledge, perspectives, and dialogue opportunities on world affairs with high school and college educators and their students.

The winning essays are posted at


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