Western Wayne Freshman Wins American Legion Patriotism Essay Contest

“To be a patriot is to do what is best for your community and ultimately your country. There is no specific way to do this. Your service can be as simple as volunteering at a local non-profit organization or as valiant as joining the military. The possibilities are endless and the results are resounding. One simple act may even inspire another person and set into action a chain of events that will greatly develop into more and more until there are results on a massive scale. Being a Patriot means being a part of that motion that unifies people and gets jobs done.”

Western Wayne freshman Nickolas Curtis defined patriotism this way in his winning essay about what patriotism means to him.  Nickolas was recognized on June 13 by the American Legion for his Patriot essay submission.  Mr. Tim French and Mrs. Jennifer Buckman presented the award to Nickolas at the Western Wayne High School in his Honors American Cultures class taught by Mr. Tim McClure.

Nickolas’s essay was chosen from five counties and about 25 schools.  The essay prompt was “What Does Being a Patriot Mean to Me?”

Everyone in the Western Wayne community is proud of Nickolas’ accomplishments, especially his history teacher.

“Nickolas shows great potential in his studies and actions,” McClure said.  “It was wonderful to witness the amount of support shown to Nickolas by his fellow classmates during and after he received the award in class.”

Nickolas explained that he never expected to win the contest when writing the essay.

“I feel really accomplished now,” he said.  “When writing the essay, I thought about my community and how that connected to patriotism on the national level.  I believe that everyone has the ability to do something great with their lives and through helping others we show our patriotism.”

Nickolas felt truly honored to be recognized for his writing and hopes that his classmates and community members will continue to show patriotism in their daily lives.

“No matter who you are, no matter where you are, you can always do something to better your community,” Nickolas explained.

In his essay, Nickolas explained allegiance to one’s county by comparing it to a fire that he hopes will lead others to show their patriotism.

“Everyone has some patriot inside of them. Everyone has a spark of inspiration within them that can ignite a magnificent blaze of innovation. It is those who light the fire that are the patriots. They do not look over at the person next to them to see what they are doing to light their fire and think that there is only one way to light it. They look at and think that there must be a better way. They aren’t afraid of trying that new way.  But most of all they have the confidence to light their fire and show others their development and are not afraid to step down when someone finds an even better way. Those who choose to use that spark whether it is to light a candle or a hearth to lead the way for others are the true patriots.”

The following is the Award Winning Essay –

What Does Being a Patriot Mean to Me?

By Nickolas Curtis

To be a patriot is to do what is best for your community and ultimately your country. There is no specific way to do this. Your service can be as simple as volunteering at a local non-profit organization or as valiant as joining the military. The possibilities are endless and the results are resounding. One simple act may even inspire another person and set into action a chain of events that will greatly develop into more and more until there are results on a massive scale. Being a Patriot means being a part of that motion that unifies people and gets jobs done.

While it seems like it takes a specific and prominent individual to be a part of or even start these movements, but it can be actually anyone. Perhaps the most important part about patriotism is that anyone can be a patriot regardless of prestige or wealth. Furthermore, being a patriot does not involve blindly following the ideals of patriotism set forth by a wealthy or important figure. This can actually hinder the process of refining a country into a nation with residents that think for themselves. This can be seen through a textbook patriot who usually appears as a person who goes out of their way to do everything right according to some higher power, they perform stereotypical rituals, and they do not question authority no matter what. These qualities ironically do not help their country, but discourage the improvement of it. Thoughtlessly performing these actions leads to a paradox of unoriginal ideas and a lack of diversity. New ideas are formed by people thinking differently. They cannot think differently when they are bound by the principles of someone else.

Not only does this establish that a patriot thinks freely, it also establishes that a patriot is not afraid to modify their country for the better of the people, rather, they are ready for changes that will progress their country. When people are not afraid of change, innovative concepts are introduced and inevitably these concepts will make their way to the top to someone who can integrate and enforce them while not forcing people to think the same way as them. These patriots are willing to go the extra mile to bring their visions to life to make their enhanced country. They will remake the entire system from the ground up if it means a better life for the people.

However, being a patriot is not limited to revamping a nation. No task is too small for a patriot. If all you can do is pick up trash on the side of a road or work at a soup kitchen, then that is enough devotion to be admired. If every person did these deeds, no matter how insignificant they may seem, they are making their nation better one small step at a time. That one task can be as simple as welcoming a neighbor, but it will make a difference. That act sets a standard for others to follow.

Everyone has some patriot inside of them. Everyone has a spark of inspiration within them that can ignite a magnificent blaze of innovation. It is those who light the fire that are the patriots. They do not look over at the person next to them to see what they are doing to light their fire and think that there is only one way to light it. They look at and think that there must be a better way. They aren’t afraid of trying that new way. But most of all they have the confidence to light their fire and show others their development and are not afraid to step down when someone finds an even better way. Those who choose to use that spark whether it is to light a candle or a hearth to lead the way for others are the true patriots.

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