For the past few years, JCI Shakopee has partnered with the Bloomington Living Hope Lutheran School to support their class trip to Washington D.C. This year, they have a packed schedule with stops in New York and Baltimore as well. This trip provides an opportunity to interact with elements of our national heritage first-hand.
Each year, the participating students participate in an essay contest that focuses on the history, culture, and nature of America, drawing in their own examples and experiences. Here is the winning essay:
As an American Teen, I am Thankful to Live in the United States of America
Land of Liberty. Melting Pot. The Land of Opportunity. These and other nicknames were made for the
U.S. They each tell something about this nation, its people, beliefs, and leaders. These nicknames give us insight into why this nation was created, why so many people have come here, and why America is what it is today. One question has shaped our whole history- what is so great about America? Millions of people have made a new life here. Why? What is it about this country that is different from others? Why am I thankful to live in America?
Land of Liberty. This name is very traditional, but also has a huge meaning, a meaning that some people often overlook. In America, we all have freedoms, but they are often taken for granted. However, many people around the world are oppressed, discriminated, and not granted individual rights. Here in America, we have the right to practice any religion we want, without any one religion being forced upon us. We have the freedom to practice any customs or traditions that we desire. We have the privilege to stand up for what we believe in. We have no restrictions on what we say, even if it is about the government. We can express ourselves in any way we want. As U.S. citizens, we have very little restrictions on what we eat, what we wear, where we live, and other things. Unlike some countries, we have lots of information available to us, along with a variety of entertainment. We also have a right to privacy. These freedoms are granted to every U.S. citizen, and thousands of young adults risk their lives so that we can keep them. America is filled with people who truly love this
country and will do anything to keep it free. That truly is something to be thankful for.
Melting Pot. This name refers to the numerous cultures and religions that make up our country.
Immigrants from all over come to America for a new life- a better economy, education, and more freedoms. Here in America, we have a variety of jobs and homes available, giving immigrants a chance to start a new life. They have the ability to go to school and get a good job without restrictions on gender or race. We have freedoms and individual rights that some countries don’t have. Our goal is equality for all people, so that is one reason why so many people have come to America and made it so diverse, made it a melting pot. Because of America’s diversity and different cultures, I am thankful to live here. I get to experience different kinds of people and their traditions and am constantly reminded of the free, diverse country that I live in.
Land of Opportunity. America is made up of a very representative government. We have a say in our
government and have the opportunity to make a difference and effect those who run our country and the laws that fill it. Every citizen is protected under the Constitution, giving everyone equal rights. We have the opportunity to protest and speak out against the government, but most of all, contribute to the decisions made in this country. America’s government strives to represent the people and not hide things from them. In addition, our government is organized in a way that keeps it free from corruption. Our government has checks and balances that spread the power equally among branches. In this way, we can live a life filled with freedoms we all deserve. Those freedoms and opportunities make living in America really something to be thankful for.
In America, we have individual rights and privileges. We live in a country that is filled with all sorts of
people and cultures. We have the opportunity to make a difference in the government and all that it does. These and other things make this country such a great place to live. America- Land of Liberty. Melting Pot. Land of Opportunity- I am so thankful to be living in a nation whose names reflect such great blessings that each and every citizen is granted.