Two students from J. R. Tucker High School attended the American Patriot Conference sponsored by the Chesapeake District of Ruritan National in April 2004. Each was asked to write a brief essay on the topic: “What Being an American Means to Me.” The following are their essays.
“What being an American means to me is the freedom of choice. Some of these freedoms are the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. With the freedom of speech I can address my likes and dislikes without fear of being prosecuted. With freedom of religion I can practice any religion or choose not to practice any religion at all. Another freedon we have is the freedom of education. We can go to a public school or a private school. We can enrich our knowledge in any subject from math to foreign languages. I have chosen to study Spanish. I am learning a lot about the culture of Spanish-speaking countries as well as how to speak the language. I may be able to use this during my military career. Americans have many freedoms that they take for granted. We don’t realize how lucky we are to have everything we have. We tend to fuss about what we don’t have, instead of appreciating what we have and what we can achieve.”
Josh Clark, J. R. Tucker High School
“To me, being an American means that I am a citizen of a great country, filled with culture, freedom, and especially opportunity. I am able to say I am part of a country whose history and people has shaped its government, and has formed a strong democratic nation. I know that as an American I have been blessed with the freedom and opportunity to shape and decide who I am as an individual, which can in turn help shape my nation. There are many countries whose citizens aren’t always given the same liberties, don’t have the chance to get as well of an education, or have the same freedom to become part of their goverment. As an American with all of these opportunities, I know that I, like every other American, can become whatever I strive for. It is my responsibility to allow positive influences around me to help me decide who I am, and not to waste the great opportunities I have been given. Being an American is what has allowed me to become who I am, therefore it is something I am very proud and appreciative of.”
Joseph Wilding, J. R. Tucker High School
Note: Both Josh and Joseph are members of the Marine JROTC at Tucker High School. Also, Sean Gottschalk of Deep Run High School was awarded a scholarship and will attend the 2005 conference.
Want to attend the 2012 American Patriot Conference? It will be held April 26 – 29, 2012 at Makemie Woods Camp and is open to any high school student in the 10th-12th grades. We anticipate two $285 scholarships will be offered. Applications found here. Applications will require the same essay, “What Being an American Means to Me.” Please keep length to approximately one page.