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Congrats to our 2016 Youth Essay Contest Winners!

Camiria Cole, Zipporah Bell, and Kasey Graves are the winners of our youth essay contest “Why an Opportunity to Learn is Important to Me.” You can find each winner’s full essay below.

Zipporah Bell (14-18 years old) 

“Why an Opportunity to Learn is Important to Me”

Why is having an opportunity to learn important to me as an individual? I sometimes try to

imagine life without at least a third grade education. How would I get along reading simple things, those that are required for daily life? This led me to the conclusion that there are three major reasons why an opportunity to learn is opportunity to me. They are as follows: the history of my ancestors, the global deprivation of receiving an education, and the ability to make a difference/change in this world.

First, as an African-American, my genetic roots reach back into the slave trade. My ancestors were enslaved and were not allowed to learn how to read or write, which is why they were left always vulnerable and dependent, feeling less than human. Many of my ancestors were punished even killed if found trying to read or write. Nowadays, I am privileged to be able to learn and do so with others that are different ethnicities, as well as learning complex ideals such as Trigonometry.

Secondly, I am a female which plays a major role in various areas. In many third world countries, females are not allowed to go to school and most are punished or even killed. In other places, an education is an extreme financial expense. A recent example of this is Malala Yousafazi, who was shot for pursuing her education. Let us not forget her name.

Last but not least, an opportunity to learn is important because it strengthens my ability to make a change/difference in this world. America is lacking in stem careers occupied by females and minorities. This description fits me in both categories. My goal is become a neonatologist, a doctor specialized for babies and their medical issues. Although I may not have a spotlight career or be on the “big screen”, I can save plenty of families from the grief of losing a newborn. In the end, it is not only important, but critical to have the opportunity to learn.

Kasey Graves (11-13)

An opportunity to learn is important to me because I want to have an exceedingly great education. I want to go to college and get a degree in architecture. I found that I love designing and building things. I also love to draw. I discovered all these things while getting my education.

Another reason why a great education is important to me, is because I aspire to go to the Arkansas School of Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts (ASMSA), in Hot Springs, AR. My brother attended this school and I had the opportunity to visit the school and walk through the different departments and experience the workings of some of the students that attended and graduated. I hope that I have the opportunity to follow in my brother’s footsteps. This excellent school will give me the challenge to realize my full potential.

I would have never known what I aspire to be if I was never given the opportunity to learn and expand my knowledge. I am very grateful to all my teachers and the faculty at my school for giving me this opportunity.

Camiria Cole (8-10)

“Why an Opportunity to Learn is important to me”

An opportunity to learn is important to me because it increases my chances to have a better education, go to college, and have a career that will pay well. Everyone should know that a great education takes a lot of time and hard work. If you keep your head in your books, and put your mind to it anyone can achieve the goal of a great education. When I think about learning I get excited, because if it wasn’t for the people like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman who fought for education for us I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have to learn today. I thank God everyday for giving me the opportunity to learn. There are so many kids in this world today that don’t get the opportunity at an education. They don’t get to go to school to learn basic skills for life. Some don’t know how to hold a pencil to write, they don’t know how to read, or even count which are all things we need to know how to do to live life. I’m thankful that I have the education that I have. Even though I may not have the best education, I have the opportunity to have a good education if I keep focused on it.

My life goals are to one day have my own dance studio or even to be a nurse like my sister. In order to achieve these goals I first have to get an good education in elementary, high school, and college. I think everyone should have the same chance to learn, but in the past and present we don’t always have that opportunity. So I am thankful for the opportunities I do have to learn. Having a great education, a college degree, a good career, and a chance at living a successful life is why the opportunity to learn is important to me.