Two Valley-area high school students won first prizes Friday in a statewide Bill of Rights competition.
The winners, Mathew Haines, of Simi Valley High School and Benjamin Karney of Harvard High School in North Hollywood, both 17, received the $750 prizes at the 45th annual contest sponsored by Coast Savings & Loan.
Haines won in the art competition for his 15-by-20-inch montage of historic images including the Statue of Liberty, the Olympic torch and the space shuttle.
Karney won in the speech competition for his talk on the contest's theme: "The Bill of Rights in the Year 2000."
More than 500 students entered this year's contest, said Ellen Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the contest. Thirty winners were given cash prizes at the awards ceremony, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.
Winners were selected in the art, speech and essay categories, Sullivan said. Prizes ranged from $50 for honorable mention to $750 for first prize. A matching cash prize was given each winning student's school, Sullivan said.
The high school contest was begun by a group of Southern California community leaders in 1940 to "encourage the study and appreciation of the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution through creative expression."