Friday, October 13, 2017

Three Students Awarded in Pasco Essay Contest

Land O’ Lakes ­­– (October 13, 2017) ­–  The Pasco County Clerk and Comptroller has named two students from Trinity Elementary School and one student from Woodland Elementary School the winners of the Fifth Annual Pasco County Clerk and Comptroller Constitution Essay Content.

Bailey Keyes, a fifth-grader at Trinity Elementary School, won first place; Ryleigh McQueen, a fifth-grader at Woodland Elementary School, won second place; and Nathan Grimes, a fifth-grader at Trinity Elementary School, won third place. This year’s competition drew a record 72 entries, nearly 70 percent more than in 2016.

Judges applauded Bailey’s grasp of individual liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, and commended her personal examples and “clear beginning and logical ending.”

“I think the Constitution is important because it gives people the same rights no matter what color you are, what religion you are,” Bailey wrote. “I was born in another country that does not have the same type of constitution that the United States has. I moved to the country at a young age and became a United States citizen. Now, because of the constitution I can become whatever I want to be and have the rights as everyone else.”

Ryleigh painted a word portrait of a nation in chaos, identifying a possible reality “if we didn’t have the Constitution to guide us,” and highlighting the prudence in “allow(ing) the possibility of adding amendments.”

Nathan described our constitutional government as a “three-legged stool,” whose amendment structure extends freedom to former slaves and voting rights for women. But it was the kicker that impressed the three-judge panel.

“Without the Constitution, we wouldn’t be the great nation that we are today,” he wrote. “I believe that without the Constitution, we would live in a world with war and people getting killed. I prefer to live in a world with peace and sunshine!”

The winners will be awarded trophies at the Pasco County School Board meeting Dec. 19. First-place winner Bailey will get a tour of the Pasco courthouse and have lunch with Clerk and Comptroller Paula S. O’Neil.