Congratulations to our winners!
Thank you to the over 1,400 students who entered the Lady Liberty Essay Contest for a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship. We were delighted to read so many great entries and it was very difficult to select the winners. From all of us at Turkey Hill, thank you to all the students for taking the time to enter the Lady Liberty Essay Contest!
Middle School Winner
Julia H. from Clinton, CT
"Liberty is Power"
Liberty is power. Not power over a country, or other people of any kind, but power over yourself. Liberty is the power to make your own choices, to decide for yourself every action that you undertake. You make the choices, and you are in control. That doesn't necessarily mean that everyone else will agree with or respect those choices that you have the freedom to make, and in some cases there might even be some consequences. Although this is true, it doesn't alter the fact that the power to make decisions is in your hands, and always will be.
The freedom to choose the action you take is complete and unconditional. Unless one is physically unable to proceed with an action, nothing but one's conscience is keeping him or her from carrying through with it. The only thing that can stop you from being independent is yourself. Liberty is that freedom and control over yourself and what you choose to do. There are many different types of freedoms in America. You are free to choose to travel on an airplane, or to drive a car. You have the liberty of making a phone call, or you can choose to write a letter instead. On these small decisions, or bigger choices as well, liberty is power, and freedom, and independence.
Liberty, freedom and independence: these are core ideas that America was built off of. In the life of a middle school student like myself, there may not seem to be, but there are many examples of liberty, even in our daily life. For example, we can take the bus to school, ride a bike, or have someone drive us. We can choose to study for a test, or watch television instead. Even small children can decide what color pajamas to wear, or what game to play at the park. Kids may not realize it, but since we do enjoy freedom, we do have power.
Having the power to make choices and take action is an extremely wonderful thing, but this power, most of the time, will not pass unchallenged. For every action you take, for every deed that is done, there is always and unfailingly a consequence. Whether these consequences come from the law, or simply people in your life; whether it's positive, or negative, they are inevitable and unavoidable. If someone broke the law for example, there would be a consequence, but that doesn't mean anyone forced him or her to break the law. He or she made that choice independently, and that is liberty. Because of the ramifications of the law, and negative consequences for negative actions, many might be reasoned out of taking such actions, yet the one with the final say is you.
Consequences, yes, but the choices we make are ours to make. Liberty is freedom, and in America, freedom is abundant. Everywhere we turn there are examples of the everyday liberties scattered within our lives. To name them all would be impossible, and having those freedoms--independence and control over ourselves--is something many of us may take for granted, but in reality, it is special, and it is a gift. What Lady Liberty symbolizes is the philosophy of the United States, and how special and privileged all of her citizens are. Lady Liberty symbolizes the gift of freedom, and the individual power it grants us.
High School Winner
Ethan L. from Seaford, DE
"Liberty and Justice for All"
Liberty is more than a word. Liberty is not merely a feeling, or something that we can express by defining just one way. Liberty is an expression often used, but its true importance is never understood. Liberty is the very fiber, the invisible hand that shapes our nation into what it should be. It allows us to reach great heights as individuals, but even greater heights as a nation. Liberty, in fact, is the very ideal that motivated the founding fathers of America to form a new nation, and to emphasize individuality and contribution to society.
Liberty means many things to me. First of all, liberty means hope. Liberty means freedom to choose what course we will take in our own lives, what path we will follow, what contributions we will make to our society, and, ultimately, to the world. Liberty consists, and indeed gives birth to, new options on the horizon of life.
Liberty means freedom. Perhaps the thing that we most closely associate with liberty is freedom. The freedom to vote, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the press, freedom to have fair trial by jury, among many others are all privileges that we enjoy as Americans. Freedom is what caused men and women, boys and girls, to come to this great nation. Liberty is what caused other groups to seek refuge from fires, famines, floods, and tyrannies. Instead of finding tyranny in America, Lady Liberty offered them hope. Hope for a brighter future for themselves, hopes for a brighter future for their families and their loved ones. They found a country that anyone, regardless of race or politics, nationality or accent, occupation or age, can call their own. In fact, it's the very same freedom that distinguishes the United States from any other nation: it's the value of liberty as one of the most core values to our society.
Liberty means responsibility. Liberty begs us to live according to a higher calling, to set the bar a little higher, to contribute our own piece to the puzzle that is the United States, and the world. Liberty gives us something extra to live for. Liberty makes us responsible for our own choices, and has motivated countless people to help their fellow man in a rough time. Liberty means being willing to risk our lives on a battlefield for the ideals, freedoms and hopes that we so dearly love. Protection of liberty motivates thousands of people to risk their lives each and every day so that you and I, while doing our own jobs, can enjoy the freedom and peace of mind that comes with the safety provided by a free society. Liberty means responsibility, and it is a responsibility that doesn't come cheap. It comes only with the sacrifices of those who have laid their lives down, from the inception of this country to right now. Not a day goes by that we should not thank the men and women of the armed forces for their selfless defense of our liberties. They're the ones who protect and provide liberty and justice for all.
Finally, liberty means love. Liberty is something that is ingrained in all of us from the time we are young. It's what makes up the fiber of this country, one of the ideals that is closest to the very core of American society as a whole. The love that accompanies liberty is what pulls America together when we've been attacked, as we were on 9/11. The common bond of liberty unites America's people, and allows us to grow closer together from disaster. The only way that any ideal can be a major part of a society is if it is a major part of the character of the people. America is the nation that she is because of the fact that her people are strong believers in freedom, hope, responsibility, dedication, and hard work. The character of America's people is what makes me proud to be identified with our great nation. America's people are the industrious, free, kind people that they are, because liberty isn't only printed on our coins, it's engraved on our hearts. That's what liberty means to me, and that's why I am, and always will be, proud to be an American.