The Sertoma Club, a group that provides financial support to various causes in central Indiana, has sponsored this essay contest for over 30 years. The theme of the essay is “What Freedom Means to Me.” The club runs the contest from November to early March to give teachers an opportunity to work the essay into their curriculum, with the hopes that the essay will be an assignment to help improve students’ critical thinking and writing skills.
Hundreds of students in dozens of classrooms in the Greater Indianapolis area participated. Being chosen as Classroom Winners meant Autumn and Sara both won a $50 prize and were under consideration as finalists for the whole Greater Indianapolis area as well.
John Camden, the Daniel Webster teacher who facilitated the contest at the school, said, “As an educator, I feel it is very important for students to be able to showcase their abilities when it comes to academics. Activities such as the National Heritage Essay Contest give those students … a chance to be showcased.”
Sara and Autumn said they were surprised to win the contest, but writing is something they love to do.
“My essay was about how people in other places, like North Korea, don’t have as much freedom as we do,” Sara said. “I love writing. One day I hope to be a teacher of english and math.”
Autumn’s essay touched on how different races have historically been treated unequally. “The essay was really hard for me,” she said. “I like writing stories more than nonfiction.” Winning the contest was affirmation for her future plans. “I’ve always wanted to be an author and illustrator of novels and children’s books,” she said.
Adding to excitement for Autumn was a family connection. “When my grandpa was younger, he was in a similar essay contest and got second place in the state!” she said.
Indianapolis Public Schools is proud to be involved in competitions like the National Heritage Essay Contest that encourage writing and thinking and showcase the talents of our scholars. We congratulate Sara and Autumn on their awards and look forward to hearing more about their writing in the future!