The Renton VFW held a ceremony on December 18th to award Renton students who have again demonstrated their brilliance in the annual youth essay contest. The competition encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300 to 400 word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. We are proud of all of them as they have shown not only their writing skills but deep patriotism. Congratulations go to:
1st Place / 5th grade
2nd Place / 5th grade
3rd Place / 5th grade
Sophia Sta. Rosa
1st Place /8th grade
3rd Place / 6th grade
Perhaps the best way to share our excitement over these awards is to post one of the actual essays. So here is our oldest contestant’s essay written by Afomeya Haliu, an 8th grader . . .
The America I Believe In
“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Those words have been a part of our country since the very beginning. On July 4, 1776, during the American Revolution those words, as well as the rest of the Declaration of Independence, was adopted. This marked the liberation of the first thirteen American colonies from Great Britain. Even with slavery still going on, Caucasians and African Americans fought alongside each other for America. The people of America fought as one against Great Britain to make America the land of opportunity and freedom. That’s the America I believe in, where we stand together as one, and overcome our troubles together. Where everyone is treated as equals, no matter their gender, skin color, social status, sexual orientation or background. I believe in an America where everyone is given an opportunity to follow their dreams and goals as long as it doesn’t cause harm to others. Many immigrants, look at the United States of America as the land of opportunity because everyone is given chances that, to many, might not be offered in their home country. Simple things such as being seen as equals in the eyes of the law, or even freedom of speech, which is the right to voice your opinion without fearing to be persecuted are important to many immigrants. The America I believe in is where everyone has the right to elect our leaders as well as be elected as one. Where our leaders work towards keeping the interest of all Americans not just a few selected groups. Not only the majority but the minority, not only for men but for women, not only for the rich but for the poor. I believe in an America where your ZIP code does not determine the quality of education that you get. An America where hard work and merit are the main factors that determine success not who you are or where you came from. I believe in an America that strives towards a perfect union. Where “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” are still true, alive, and thriving. That is the America I believe in.
Older students may advance to national finals with the potential to win $5,000 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC. Each year over 132,000 students compete at the national level for 6th through 8th grade. It is hard to express the way we feel about these awards given to our young people. To be recognized in this manner by the Veterans of Foreign War is truly an honor. As we seek to prepare our students to make a global impact, this encourages us to press on.