Essay contest winners Samantha Santucci and Jordan Roman.

Essay contest winners Samantha Santucci and Jordan Roman.

At the December 18th Special Presentations, Councilman Larry Roth announced the winners of the Community Relations Board’s (CRB) Fall Essay Contest. Essays submitted by 26 students were judged by the CRB, which includes residents of Homestead and Florida City.

Councilman Roth noted that the topic of this fall’s essay contest was “What does voting mean to you?” and invited the three winners to the front of the Council Chambers to be recognized.

He first introduced six grader Samantha Santucci, a sixth grader from Air Base

K-8, and read an excerpt from her thoughtful essay, which was written from the context of her being a part of a military family.

Councilman Roth read: “I never thought about why voting is important to me until I came across this challenge.

I suddenly realized voting is a big part of my life and impacts me daily since I am an ‘army brat.’ I discovered in my research our founding fathers fought for the right to vote and it saddened me to learn many Americans take voting for granted. Around the world people are denied the opportunity to vote and refused the opportunity to better their countries. In America, we have this right and it is frequently wasted, as half of our citizens don’t vote. Our votes also affect people around the world — especially military families. We’re called to defend not only our freedoms, but also to ensure the safety of others.”

Councilman Roth commented, “I thought this was pretty powerful coming from a sixth grader from a military family. Samantha took the time to research the power that we have — voting — to make change in our country.”

Introducing the next winner, Jordan Roman, an eighth grader from First United Methodist Christian School, Councilman Roth shared an excerpt from his essay: “Voting is important because it helps us pick our leaders. It is a privilege and is a freedom. Voting is important because it gives us the freedom to speak our minds.”

Finally, Councilman Roth introduced Jazmin Laughlin, a 12th grader from Homestead Senior High School, and read part of her essay, which expressed that “Voting gives you an outlet to provide your opinion. It can change the course of history and it is important to women because we had to fight for the right to vote.”

Clearly impressed with the thought that the students put into learning about the important essay topic, Councilman Roth said, “I see from this essay challenge is that our students actually took time to research their answers. For the Community Relations Board, it’s not just about rewarding students for good work, it’s also about helping them enhance their education.”

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