By David L. Dyer
It was one year ago that twelve year old Jessica Schutt (rhymes with Putt as in golf) wrote an essay titled “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans.) Jessica was a seventh grade student at Grosse Ile Middle School. This was entered into a VFW annual contest. This contest has become an annual class project for Mrs Susan Dusute, 7th and 8th Grade English Teacher at Grosse Ile Middle School. Susan puts her heart into this project and is determined to produce a winner.
Jessica Schuttt was also determined to produce a winner and she did just that. Her entry at the VFW Post level took first place. She was awarded $100 and a certificate and advancement to the District four level which includes the entire downriver area. She did not win at that level.
Fast forward one year, Jessica now an eighth grader was determined to advance further then she did last year. The VFW is now allowed to choose one winner per each fifteen entries. This year with 92 entries, six winners were chosen locally. Yes, Jessica was one of them. She made several changes on this years theme “What Does Freedom Mean to Me.” When she finally decided it was the best she could do she turned it in at the last moment.
It turned out to be not only the best she could do but the best anyone else in the entire District four area could do. Jessica Schutt’s essay was awarded first place in the entire District. She now advances to the State level competition in Lansing later this month. That winner will go on to Washington, DC for the national award of $5000.
At the District She was awarded $250, another certificate and a beautiful plaque. So now I ask not only Grosse Ile but all of Downriver to support Jessica and we’ll see how far her best effort will take her at the State level.
Now I would like to share Jessica’s Essay:
“WHAT FREEDOM MEANS TO ME.” By Jessica Schutt
Americans are privileged. Freedom enriches our lives in unexpected ways. It empowers us to speak out against those who have wronged us, to use our words and actions to inspire others. Every generation recognizes and appreciates the opportunities of our nation differently. I would like to believe I understand the full value of freedom, but I haven’t experienced the loss of my right before. The battle to protect freedom has been ongoing. From the birth of our nation until now, millions of brave soldiers have sacrificed something significant to protect our country’s interests and progress.
America is the land of opportunities. Nobody understands this quite like my mom. She grew up in Hong Kong, an only child, born with a heart condition. I grew up with the stories of how her parents were faced with a choice. Go into China where they face the unfortunate reality of never leaving, or come to the United States, a place with a constantly developing medical field and the chance to pursue an education. Even then her parents understood the chances their growing child would have in the U. S.
Personal freedom for every citizen has been what our nation has strived to achieve since its birth in 1776. Individuality has been one of our greatest ambitions and most valuable asset. We each seek to define our own identity, express ourselves through ideas, pursue educations, or simply be spontaneous. Every choice makes us unique, whether it is the tiniest decision or a life altering one. Each determination identifies our character; it makes us who we are.
Not only is freedom underappreciated but it is often abused. Throughout the world, on the internet, freedom of speech is mistreated. Social media sites are constantly being confronted on the subject of inappropriate content. The internet is a pronounced tool, frequently being used to cyber bully and attack anonymously. These moral degraders use freedom of speech to insult other people. To be allowed to speak your mind is a privilege. These offenders use that freedom to slander fellow human beings. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and discourse is encouraged to understand different perspectives, however these constant rude remarks from individuals all over the world are intolerable and an abusive use of freedom of speech.
The United States signifies freedom; we have what others desire. With the entire country’s contribution we can honorably represent that title.