In the tight race, Pasco County essay contest winners shine
PASCO COUNTY, FL. – Eloquently underlining the meaning and enduring importance of the famous opening sentence of the founding document of the United States, Lee Ellis, a fifth-grader at Land O ‘Lakes, won first prize in the ninth annual essay competition of the Pasco County Clerk and Comptroller Constitution.
“Did you know that ‘We the people’ means everyone? The rich, the poor, the young, the old, the whites, the blacks, men and women are all part of “We the people”. “
Lee noted, significantly, that the Constitution does not “give” rights, but, on the contrary, guarantees them. This distinction, vital for our governance philosophy, is often misinterpreted. Lee, however, nailed it:
“The Constitution is very important because it sets the framework that our government and our legal systems still follow today. This framework protects the basic rights of “We the people” and prevents the government from having too much power. … It protects our right to privacy, our right to choose our religion, our right to vote, our right to do the things we love, and much more!
Aubrey Ofoulhast Othamot of Oakstead Elementary School and Jake Whitman of Christian Crossings Academy round out the top three. This year marked the first time that students other than those attending Pasco County District schools broke into the medal stand.
Examined stripped of credentials by three long-time professional journalists, the ninth annual competition has proven to be the most competitive to date. Working alone, each judge submitted a list of tries they considered the top 10. Among them, they cited 19 essays worthy of their votes.
Lee’s essay was written “with clarity, confidence and focus,” wrote one of the judges. He “was able to relate the importance of the Constitution to the people it affected. Additionally, two powerful quotes (one from Thomas Jefferson and one from John Adams) added a distinct sense of history and authority to the entry.
Another judge praised that Lee’s essay contained strong arguments, then backed them up with historic quotes from America’s founders Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
Aubrey’s essay also stressed that the Constitution guarantees freedom, including the right to criticize the government “without being punished or ridiculed”.
“If ‘we the people’ don’t like the way government works,” she wrote, “we can petition or spread the word about them. “
It was a “solid presentation,” wrote one of the judges, demonstrating “a good grasp of the material” presented “in a straightforward and quick manner. The use of names added substance and the explanation of the changes put their importance in a historical context.
Jake’s manuscript essay was comprehensive, full of details that took the reader on a meaningful journey. “The writing is good,” wrote one judge. “The writer gives good examples, especially when he explains freedom of religion.
“I can choose to be a Christian,” Jake wrote, “my friend can be Jewish and my neighbor can believe in Buddhism. This is great because it creates a diverse country in which we can express our beliefs without fear of persecution. “
Honorable mentions went to Izabella Crockett, Emma Saclarides, Cody VanOpdorp, Treyson Workentin, Noa Ron, Paul Patrocinio, Rosaria Cage, Destin Martin, Amalia Esajas, Analise Ossa (Oakstead Elementary), Gianna Matos, Ayden Satnarain, Andrea Martinez Campos ( Saint Anthony Catholic School), Nadia Koutereba and Audrey Floyd (Christian Crossings Academy).
Each of the essays contained the ability to delight, such as this insightful passage from Saint Anthony’s Ayden Satnarian: “[T]he right to freedom of expression is also essential. Sometimes the press is annoying and doesn’t leave famous people alone, but they also do good.
The top three essayists will receive trophies and gift cards. They will also be presented at the November 16 meeting of the Pasco County School Board. Honorable mention essayists receive certificates suitable for framing.
The 10th Annual Pasco County Clerks and Comptrollers Constitution Writing Competition is scheduled to begin in late August 2022. As is tradition, the competition will be open to all grade five students in Pasco County. See the Clerk and Controller website (www.pascoclerk.com) as well as the agency’s Facebook and Twitter pages for more details.
The top three essays are posted on www.pascoclerk.com.
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