Make America Better

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Essay contest winners offer suggestions for ways to improve our nation State Sen. Raymond Finney and Blount Today wanted to know what young people have on their minds. One way to find out was simply to ask, with a little incentive for students to take time out from their busy lives to answer.

Sen. Finney and Blount Today sponsored an essay contest for students in middle and high school with the following theme: How would you make America better? Sen. Finney has done a similar contest in Sevier County, so Blount Today teamed with him to do the contest in Blount.

The senator offered a $200 cash prize to each winner, plus a certificate and a Tennessee Blue Book. Blount Today gave each winner a personal DVD player and is publishing their essays.

Winners were John Schmidt, who attends Maryville Middle School, and Ciera C. Brown, a student at Heritage High School.
Thank you to everyone who entered the contest. Following are the winning essays.


Make America Better
By John Schmidt

If America is a melting pot, then we, as the inhabitants, must each be an ingredient in what must be the greatest soup around. Each person is a different flavor to the majestic stew, yet it sometimes seems so many people try to keep away the spices necessary to make it.

In my short time on this earth, there have been several things I have noticed, but the one thing I can’t stand is the discrimination. I know I can make this country better later, if not now.

Right now, I personally can donate time to making America better. During winter my church hosts a party for the Hispanic community. I know just by going there and interacting with the people I can make America better, for not only them but also myself. Communication can be a wonderful elixir for this country. When I talk to people outside my community, I allow myself to embrace slowly the culture of the people I am talking with, which, in turn, lets me appreciate what contributions they are making to our society. Even in a small way, my chat with someone helps both of us understand more about each others’ lives. I may not be saving the world but I am helping myself and others see through the eyes of those who are typically strangers.

After college, I plan to start an agency that specializes in foreign exchange trips. What we as Americans need to do is experience others’ cultures - be apart of their lives. America would be better nation if more people had the opportunity to take part in foreign exchange studies. These trips would allow more people to learn more about the world, which, in turn, would help them to learn to accept others and spread new ways of viewing life through their communities.

Another way I could help make America better is through helping others open schools specializing in foreign languages: Latin, French and Spanish. By allowing more people the opportunity to learn more languages and more about other cultures, we, in turn, give them the chance to communicate with others and better understand them. This in itself would help enrich the American culture greatly.

For our American soup, let’s better use the ingredients we have. Bon Apetit. La sopa es saborsa!


Make America Better
By Ciera C. Brown

What I would do to make America better? I could write an endless amount of answers to this question. There is so much someone could do to change America for the better in small ways as well as big.

To make America better I would start an organization where children could get food and clothing for free if they needed it. I would also send the gospel to everyone in the phone book, and I would build playgrounds in poor communities.

First, I would begin with the future -- children. I would start an organization where children could get food and clothing for free if they needed it. Everyone is always trying to change the world, but it could really just start by feeding a child down the road who doesn’t get food every meal and giving some used clothes to a child who has to wear clothes that don’t fit them every day. People always think poverty is a million miles away but usually you can find it a little ways down the road from you.

Secondly, I would start an outreach where churches had volunteer groups that would send the gospel to everyone in their cities’ phone books in a letter. No country can prosper without God. When you get saved, you receive an everlasting desire in your heart to do what is right. America needs to turn back to HIM and then our country will prosper once again.

Lastly, I would, with the help of others, build playgrounds in poor communities. Most of the time, in poor communities, both parents have to work, so they can’t take their kids to the park or to do different things. Kids then get bored so they go looking for something to do, which is when most of them get into trouble. If they had a playground, then they would have something to do with other kids. This wouldn’t prevent all children from getting into trouble, but I believe it would help some.

In conclusion, I truly believe America is the best country in the world, but I think America needs to get back to the
foundation and principles it was built on. Three ways I would change America is I would give children clothes and food; I would send the gospel to people in a letter; and, lastly, I would build playgrounds for poor children.

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