SVS students sweep Elks Club essay contest

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ARLINGTON Stillaguamish Valley School students swept the top places in the recent Everett Elks Club essay contest asking, What is an American?
In the first division, made up of fifth- and sixth-graders, SVS fifth-grader Victoria Blymyer took second place, while in the second division, made up of seventh- and eighth-graders, SVS seventh-grader Jasmine Davis took third place, while SVS eighth-grader Amanda King took second place and fellow SVS eighth-grader Rachel Atwood took first place.
Davis defined an American as someone who fights for freedom, not only their own, but also that of their country and others, and who sacrifices on behalf of others.
An American is one who gives without expecting anything in return, Davis wrote. An American is one who loves justice.
King echoed Davis, while expanding the definition of an American to include someone who speaks their mind, stays informed and accepts others for who they are.
Even if you were not born in America, if you believe in democracy, stand for what you believe in and are cooperative, you can become an American, King wrote.
Atwood used vivid imagery to describe Americans as people who can reach for their dreams because their forebears did the same.
An American is a person who dreams at night and pursues those dreams daily, pursuing their happiness, Atwood said. Americans are free because the proud men and women before us pursued their dreams. Its your heart that makes you American, not the soil beneath your feet. Its in your heart where being an American lies, because if your heart is free, you have already reached Americas shore.
There were 100 entries for this contest, so we were pleased to have so many winners from our school, said SVS writing instructor Liz Bertran. After being recognized Feb. 19 at the Normana Hall in Everett, the essays go to the state and then to nationals. Id like to have the thanks go to the parents of these kids since they work so hard to get them to this level.

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