Six Pinellas Students Advance to Statewide Elks Lodge Competition
The winners of the state competition are scheduled to be named later this month.
PINELLAS COUNTY – Six Pinellas County Schools’ students from Joseph L. Carwise and Bay Point middle schools were named district winners in the Elks Lodge Americanism Essay Contest.
The Americanism committees at the Dunedin/Clearwater and St. Petersburg lodges chose 12 initial winners based on students’ essay submissions about why it is important to vote. Pinellas County Schools narrowed the pool to six by choosing three Division I (fifth and sixth grade) winners, and three Division II (seventh and eighth grade) winners to represent the district at the Elks Lodge statewide competition.
Division I district winners who will advance on to the statewide competition are Aiden Willroth of Joseph L. Carwise Middle School, Sidratal Hime of Bay Point Middle School and Christina Valkanov of Bay Point Middle School. Division II winners who will advance on to the statewide competition are Jacob Bisson of Joseph L. Carwise Middle School, Brendan Wells of Joseph L. Carwise Middle School and Rafael Sulaman of Bay Point Middle School.
All essay winners will be recognized at Elks Lodge dinners before the conclusion of the school year. The winners of the statewide competition will be shared this month.
Here are a few excerpts from the winning essays:
Christina Valkanov, Bay Point Middle School
“Voting makes everyone feel important, like it makes them feel part of something big and gives them some freedom to pick a president of a club or the next president of the United States of America. Voting gives people the feeling that they can make a difference.”
Brendan Wells, Carwise Middle School
“It is always important to vote. It guarantees our freedom and gives citizenship a purpose. We the people make the decisions. We the people shape our future. We the people decide how we want to see our government.”
Rafael Salaman, Bay Point Middle School
“Voting is a way to speak your mind and let your voice be heard! Your vote is your voice. When we vote, we are actually telling elected officials and lawmakers how we feel about education, public safety, social security, health care, and other important issues…Voting changes communities! Do you ever wonder why one neighborhood gets passed over for things it needs, while another seems to get it all? One big reason is voting. When we vote, we can get results that we can actually see.”
Jacob Bisson Grade, Carwise Middle School
“A lot of times, because of their money and status, wealthy people have more influence in the community than someone that’s poor, their voices seem to matter more. Voting is important because it’s one of the few times where everyone is equal, everyone gets only one vote, which means everyone has equal say. It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, tall or short, black or white, your vote counts the same as everyone else’s, so take this rare opportunity and let your voice be heard.”
For information about Pinellas County Schools, go to pcsb.org.
Pinellas County Schools | Education | Carwise | Bay Point | Elks Club | Essay Contest | TB Reporter
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