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Table Rock student wins essay contest

posted Feb 15, 2018, 8:51 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Eighth-grade Table Rock Middle School student Gracie S. won the local, district and state levels of the Patriot Pen essay contest sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. She was honored at a banquet on Feb. 3 and was able to read her essay, which is shared below. She is now eligible for the national competition in March. 

America’s Gift to My Generation

Gracie S.

Emily Dickinson once said, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” America has given many things to my generation, but above all we have hope. In light of the recent tragedies, from Puerto Rico to Texas to Las Vegas to California, hope is the thing, and quite possibly the only thing, that people have left. People who rise from the ashes to show hope to millions of others, and more specifically, American people who have modeled hope to everyone - past, present, and future.

Previous generations had to fight for rights, for medical care, for financial security.  Those things belonged to a few, while many were hopeless.  But slowly, people such as Martin Luther King, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Helen Keller started changing things for others.  These leaders began showing how hope changes things - such as how it makes you work harder, strive for greater, and shoot for the moon.

In the present, our generation is seeing models of hope played out in every tragedy, in every natural disaster, in our schools, and in the endless possibilities available for our future.  In the recent shooting in Las Vegas, we saw an Iraq veteran risk his life to save others. After the hurricanes in Florida and Texas, we saw people drop everything to help the flood victims rebuild their homes. These are just a few examples out of many that show how people are still demonstrating hope.

The future of America will be molded from our past experiences as a result of those who lived before us and fought for what we are experiencing as a generation of young Americans. Today, hope is available to all of us.  It’s what past and present generations model - amidst the trials and tribulations. Hope will remain as the driving force that pushes us all through, and that is the gift that America has given me.