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Category : Awards

Sonoran Sky Elementary Student Wins Arizona Elks Association Youth Essay Contest

Thursday , October 29 , 2020

Kirby Everingham and Ana Rassega


Each year, the National Elks Organization hosts a youth essay contest for students in fifth-eighth grades. This past year, the theme was “What Does Freedom of Speech Mean to Me?”. 

Ana Rassega, a fifth-grader from Sonoran Sky Elementary School, won first place in the Arizona contest. She was awarded a beautiful plaque and a $50 gift card. 

The Phoenix Elks Lodge  #335 received 123 essays from three schools. The six winning essays were sent to the District Americanism Chair who then sent the winning essays on to the Arizona Elks Association’s state chair and then on to the national level. This is the second time in 10 years that the Phoenix Elks Lodge #335 had a state winner.

The Arizona Winning Essay

What does Freedom of Speech mean to me? Freedom of speech gives each person the right to say what they think without being persecuted. lt allows people freedom of self expression, freedom to think and feel differently than those around them. Without this freedom, our country would be a lot less interesting.

lmagine a world where you do not have the freedom to say what you want.  Imagine a place where disagreements with the Government or its Officials could cost you your freedom or life.  lmagine a place where females and children were unable to express their opinions simply because they are young or female. There are places like this. We are blessed to have this right.

Freedom of speech means I have the right not to speak when I do not want to. I cannot be forced to give my opinion or choose a political side. I cannot be forced to voice my values, I have the right to stay silent. However, if I choose not to be silent, freedom of speech allows me to be vocal about what I truly think and believe.

I do not think people should use this freedom to be mean and bully other people. Just because we have the right to say what we want or how we're feeling, does not mean we should always do so at other people's expense.

There is no freedom or law that says we have to be kind. However, if we use our freedoms to be mean to others, I believe that we are no better than places that do not have freedom of speech because we are silencing those who are not strong enough to stand up and speak for themselves. Be grateful we live in a place where we have all these rights.