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Middle schooler has a way with words
Kari Grippo wins a local award for her essay on patriotism. Now, it's on to competition on the state level.
By KARI GRIPPO, Special to the Times
Published January 9, 2008
Kari Grippo was named the first-place winner of the VFW's Patriot's Pen essay writing contest for Post 8681 in Spring Hill and VFW District 21.
When it comes to putting words on paper, Kari Grippo is racking up her share of awards. Last year, she was honored with a Creative Writing Award at Hudson Elementary. This school year, she won the Summer Journal Writing Award at Hudson Middle School after managing to post some rather lengthy entries every single day over the summer break - even though 20 entries was the minimal requirement. Most recently, Kari was named the first-place winner of the VFW's Patriot's Pen essay writing contest for Post 8681 in Spring Hill and VFW District 21. For that she has been awarded $100 in cash, a $100 U.S. savings bond and a chance at the state award. If she wins that, it's on to nationals.
Here is her essay:
"Why I Am An American Patriot"
When my teacher gave us this assignment, asking "Why I Am An American Patriot," I thought long and hard, almost all weekend. To me, an American patriot is someone like George Washington, Samuel Adams or Patrick Henry who said, "Give me liberty or give me death!" Plus, all of the other forefathers that started this country and made it what it is today. Also, I think American patriots are war heroes and all the men and women who fought and died in all the wars. I also think of the president, governors and senators who surely are American patriots.
Now I think to myself and ask, "How is this 11-year-old sixth-grader an American patriot?"
So I looked up patriotism in the dictionary and it reads, "The love of country and devotion to its welfare." But yet, I still cannot define why I am an American patriot.
So I went to my dad and asked for his help. He told me to go online and research American patriotism. So after going through many pages of research online, I came across the document, The Declaration of Independence. Low and behold, I finally got it! In big bold print!
On the top of The Declaration of Independence it states, "We the people ..." Now I get it! ALL of us are patriots in some way. I think true American patriots are just ordinary people who don't have to be presidents, politicians or war heroes. They can be people who are never singled out for doing something great. An American patriot is someone who works hard to take care of their family. It could be a volunteer that helps people in the hospital. It could even be our local pastor who cares about his congregation.
They are the people who pay their taxes and follow their civic duties. So finally, American patriots are citizens of the United States of America who take part in our country's growth and development. In conclusion, I feel I am an American patriot because I work hard in school, and if I improve myself, in return I will improve the country I live in.
Patriot's Pen is a nationwide competition open to students in grades 6-8. Annually, more than 115,000 students participate in the contest. The first-place winner receives a $10,000 U.S. savings bond and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The top national winners each receive a savings bond ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. For information on Patriot's Pen and other VFW scholarship programs, go to www.vfw.org.
Kari Grippo, 11, of Hudson
School: Hudson Middle School, sixth grade
Favorite book and author: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Hobbies/extracurriculars: Reading, writing, soccer, playing guitar, hanging with her long-haired tabby cat, Jazzy.