Rim Country Middle School eighth-grader Amy Leafty, district winner of the Patriot's Pen Contest sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, employed a simple strategy in writing her winning essay.
"I decided to write what I believed instead of what I thought they wanted me to write," Leafty said.
Here is her winning essay.
My Dream for America
by Amy Leafty
Ruben Askew said, "We must stop talking about the American dream and start listening to the dreams of the Americans." I am an American and I have a dream about the America I want to live in. I dream of an America with less pollution, no poor people, and no illegal drugs. I am glad to be an American. My desire is to live in a better America.
America would be cleaner with less pollution. Last year my social studies teacher told my class that the ozone is becoming worse because of all the pollution. This caused me to think that we need to reduce pollution. We could do this if we recycled more and did not litter as much. Also, if people would drive less and conserve gas that destroys the ozone.
Something I see a lot is poor people. I have seen them on the streets begging for money or food or even a job. To see young children begging is especially sad. There should be homeless shelters for the poor. There they could get healthy food and clothes that are in good condition. Also these shelters need to teach the adults job skills so they can go out in the real world and earn money to survive. These shelters should also provide an education for the children.
I know people who do drugs and personally I would rather not hang out with them. It is not like they are bad people, it is just what they are doing is bad. I have seen innocent teenagers and children start using drugs because of peer pressure. They become addicts and then they cannot stop. Some of them even die. I think that illegal drugs should not be allowed. Laws should be enforced making it illegal to sell and buy drugs. People who are caught making or selling illegal drugs should be arrested and made to pay fines.
There are many wonderful opportunities for living in America. But as citizens of this great country it is up to each of us to make it an even greater place to live. Each of us must do our part to not pollute. We need to share food and money with the poor. We should also vote on laws that make drugs impossible to get into the hands of innocent people.
Leafty beat 300 entries from throughout the district, according to George Rigby, local adjutant.
Others honored, all RCMS eighth graders, included second-place winner Stephanie Miller and third-place winners Shawna Davis, Dugan Eckstein and Ashley Monty. See the education section of the Roundup Internet Edition to read their entries.