Raiders are writers

Raiders are writers
Posted on 03/07/2018

We featured these essays in a display in the Parish Hall for Catholic schools week, but we're so proud of our students' accomplishments that we wanted to add them to Raider Required Reading. Here are our essay contest winners' work.

Steven Vanden Noven
Grade 8
America’s Gift to My Generation
America has been around for centuries. Our founding fathers knew that there needed to be a country for everyone in a time where monarchies and dictatorships were prevalent. They broke free from Britain's oppressive chains and formed a country for the people. They created America, land of the free and home of the brave. America's greatest gift to my generation has been America's greatest gift to every generation; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Life is an inheritance that Americans receive, from the day of their birth to their death. The unalienable right to life means that every human being has the right to live a full life, especially without being killed by another human. No matter who you are or where you were born, you as an American citizen are entitled to life. Only in extreme cases and through due process of law can you be deprived of this right. Otherwise, you have the right to live your life.
Citizens in every US state and district are entitled to the gift of liberty. Liberty is the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by the authority of a government. When the first Americans were putting together this country, they knew that it needed to be a country where the people could express their views freely, unlike the laws under the British Empire. That's why they included a bill of rights to protect the people's liberty. These liberties allow me to talk freely, profess my own religion, and express my ideas publicly.
Americans are blessed with the pursuit of happiness. In other countries, especially communist ones, people do not get to choose their jobs or hobbies. They may be denied material items such as books or computers. Individualism is discouraged, and working for a common, federally provided goal is often the main focus. In America, you can do what you desire. You are allowed to follow your dreams and passions without the restrictions of an authoritative government. You can develop as a person, mentally and emotionally.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is America's gift to my generation. These rights together are one amazing gift. The United States has provided them for 241 years, and they are still the greatest gift. They allow you to live your life, be free from governmental restrictions, and manifest your destiny. You can be you. These are America's greatest gift to my generation.
Steven’s essay took first place in both local and district levels in the VFW 2017-18 Patriot’s Pen competition. Steven was awarded $400 in scholarship aid.

Mark Bryant
Grade 7
I was only an eleven year old when it all changed. Our Great Empire, the Fatherland, surrendered to the Allied powers and we lost practically everything. It has been three months since our defeat and we are just as humiliated as the day we heard of our surrender. The appalling treaty of Versailles ripped the German Empire to shreds, and my family is struggling to make enough money to provide for us. German Marks are virtually worthless, so we must each have two jobs just to survive. Ever since the end of the war, my family has contemplated moving to Northern Illinois where my American cousins live so we are currently saving up for the trip. Before the war, I never would have even considered moving to the United States, but now that it is our only option. I feel incredibly forced and angry.
My name is Friedrich Muller and my family and I (my two brothers, three sisters, and my mother) live in a poor neighborhood known as der wedding or Wedding in Berlin. It is very lower class and the population of it is dropping because of people leaving to move to the more prosperous western world; but that doesn't mean work isn't an issue. My mother works in a Bayer aspirin factory and my father was a soldier on the eastern (Russian) front before he was killed by them like my brother. I only have two brothers left one is fifteen and one is seven and my sisters, ten, twelve (my twin), and seventeen. I work in a local textile factory and only make minimum wage. Ever since we lost most of our money to inflation, I have had to work full time and I no longer go to school because of that. I heard that in America I can go to school, and not have to work, because the economy is so great there! Ever since the war America has had an incredibly powerful economy. I wasn't happy when I heard we were moving, but seeing what we must do here to survive, I am excited to go! My fifteen year-old brother, Hans, fought in the war and always says he is lucky to have made it out practically unscathed physically. Mentally, though, Hans is shell shocked and has completely changed since his return. He fought on the western front in northern France against French and American military divisions. When we told Hans about us moving to the United States, he threw a fit. Hans claims that the Americans are unsympathetic, ruthless dogs with no decency for the German people. We all know that this is pure nonsense, so we don't mention America when he is in earshot. Even if he doesn't like it, it is non-negotiable moving to America. There is an uprising here in Germany and we need to leave before it gets out of hand and we lose what little we have. My oldest sister, Anna, supports the Social Democratic Party of Germany and wants political reforms to occur to form a new republic of Germany known as Weimarer Rupublik (Weimar Republic). She has always wanted to see what a Democratic Republic is like and wanted to visit the United States earlier, but the war prevented travel between nations and especially enemy nations. My cousins in the U.S. have sent us letters and American currency which actually has significant value in Germany to support and fund our great migration to America. My cousins' say upon arrival to tell all we meet that we are Dutch to avoid discrimination against us. They say that ever since The Great War, German-Americans have never been treated the same. We almost made it to America one month ago yet my youngest brother, Leopold, struck ill with a fever. His medications took much of the funds for our trip and almost left us dry. My sister says that it should be four months till we have enough funds to send one of us over to get a job and send money back to assist getting the rest of us over. We are sending Anna and even though she wants to go to America, she is a bit hesitant on going to a completely different half of the world alone to stay with cousins she's never met.
We have the greatest hopes for the future and if all goes as to plan, we will make it to America. My family has doubts, but I will do whatever it takes to get us there. We have worked extraordinarily hard to get to the Western hemisphere, and will work even harder if that's what it takes to get to the free world of the United States of America.
Mark wrote this essay responding to the prompt: The end of WWI was the beginning of a new age. Imagine you are living in 1918. Discuss how the end of the war will impact your life. Mark took first place in the Ft. Nashborough and Cumberland District and is waiting to hear about the State level results of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest.


Grace Darke
Grade 7
The Challenges in Creating a New Country
When forming a new country, one has many duties to consider including creating a constitution and establishing the rights and responsibilities of the citizens. One might be wondering why go to all this trouble, but without this foundation, a country would be in a state of anarchy.
Having a constitution is important because it puts into words why people would form a country and how the government will function. It is important to know why the country was brought together because then people are more unified in purpose and ideas. In the country I would create, the constitution would strongly state that we are united and equal, meaning that we do not segregate and do not accept racism. This also means that we seek justice for all people no matter their race, religion, or gender.
It is crucial for citizens to know their rights because if they do not, they will not live as full a life as they could otherwise. In my country people will have a right to privacy, healthcare, protection by the government, and education. In addition to these rights, my citizens will also have the right to vote, to choose their own religion or beliefs, to justice, to express their thoughts in a safe way, and to choose their own life paths. This statement of rights would be similar to the Bill of Rights written by our Founding Fathers.
Citizens also need to know and understand their responsibilities to their country and fellow citizens because if not, the community suffers. In my country a citizen would be expected to vote, to fend for oneself, and to provide opportunity for one's children. Citizens are also expected to choose actions that will benefit them and their community, to follow the laws, to seek acceptance for all, and to support the greater community.
Without a doubt, creating a country would be extremely difficult and time consuming. An excellent starting point would be writing a constitution and a list of rights and responsibilities by which citizens would abide. With these in place, all of the citizens of my country would be well on their way to feeling organized, safe, and secure.

Grace’s essay was a first place State-level winner in the Tennessee Secretary of State’s essay contest. Grace was awarded a $500 scholarship.