Dakota McMillan - $2000 (Thomas Jefferson Student Activist Award endowed by Len and Karen Eisenberg, with additional funding via the Cliff Richards Memorial Student Activist Award)
Dakota received this award in May 2014 as a high school senior, as an essential plaintiff in FFRF’s lawsuit, Nielson v. School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties. The suit challenged the school’s illegal practice of asking seniors to vote on whether to pray at graduation, then scheduling formal prayers at public high school commencements. The suit over graduation prayer was successfully settled in 2013, with the school paying out attorney’s fees to FFRF. However, the complaint was amended to add prayers by the school board.
She, with Jacob Zupon, joined the lawsuit as an underclass woman, making possible the continuation of the lawsuit after principal plaintiff Max Nielson graduated.