Students Speak Proudly in Voices of Democracy Contest

Article excerpt

Byline: Kristie Benedik

On Feb. 29, the Carpentersville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5915 and its Ladies Auxiliary recognized four students for their oral essays at its annual Voice of Democracy Awards program.

More than 60 members, friends, family and community members attended to hear the Voice of Democracy student essays and receive donations to their organizations. Almost $6,000 was awarded that day.

"My Commitment to America's Future" was the 2003-04 theme for the 57th annual contest.

In the competition, each essay, about 3 to 5 minutes long, is judged on originality, content and delivery. There were 57 Dundee- Crown students participating through Post 5915 this year.

First place went to senior Matthew Goyak, who also was recognized in last year's competition. He was awarded $300 to use toward his higher education expenses.

In his speech he spoke about family, stating that "Family is the future of America." He talked about his own family and conversations at the dinner table, which, he noted, not all families experience on a regular basis.

He feels that communication, upholding family values, "cultivating" personal life and being less concerned with possessions are ways that he can commit to bring out the best for the future of our country.

He asked that we all take time to have family dinners and speak to our children about their day or something as simple as what he calls "the ever-disgusting peas" that are served once in a while at his house.

Joy Towers, a junior, was awarded second place for her essay and received $200. She feels that her commitment is to "make a positive difference, to turn obstacles into opportunities, classes into chances to succeed, and a career into a cause."

Emilie Strauss and Travis Cameron, both juniors, tied for third place at our local post and received $100 each.

In Emilie's essay, she stated that "being an American is more that just raising the flag on July 4."

Her commitment is to work hard, volunteer, help others, show American pride and more.

Travis stated that he was committed to being the best citizen he could be through volunteering, exercising his right to vote, helping in his community and being active in village affairs.

He also plans to serve in the military to play an active role in "helping to keep democracy" in the world.

The Patriot's Pen essay competition winner was Bridget Maher, a seventh-grader at Sycamore Middle School. The theme for that contest was "My Dream For America. …