Representatives from the Watervliet Elks Lodge presented awards to four Watervliet Jr.-Sr. High School students for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finish in the 2021-22 Elks Americanism Essay Contest.
Congratulations to 10th graders Jovanni George and Jarabi Hurd, both are students in English teacher Christa Farruggio’s class; 9th grader Noor Faheem, a student in Megan Forget’s class; and 7th grader Faeshteh Vafai, a student in Tammy Karbowski’s class.
Their essays were chosen from among the hundreds of entries submitted to the local Elks Lodge by students from Green Island, Menands and Watervliet.
The annual contest, sponsored by the Elks nationwide, helps develop writing skills and provides an opportunity for students to express their thoughts on patriotic subjects.
This year, students were asked to write essays based on theme, “What It Means to Love Your Country.” Noor Faheem’s essay was selected for 1st place. In the essay, Noor wrote about the rights all citizens have in the U.S., such as freedom of speech and religion.
“In this world, not many countries have the freedom and facilities that America offers. That is one of the many reasons why I love America; for not only providing us with our needs, but also wants and safety. … The United States offers freedom of speech and freedom of religion. A lot of countries even today still don’t have this. For example, France has very conservative views and there was even a vote conducted to ban hijabs. However, I wear the hijab and feel safe. Freedom of speech is a very important strength of this country. In the United States, we are allowed to say what we please, what we think is right and wrong.” — excerpt from Noor’s essay
All students who wrote an essay for the contest received a certificate and a prize for participating.
Winning essays will move up to the district level competition next, and if selected at that point, will advance to the state, and potentially, the national levels.