When Cole Wilczek, of Bethlehem Lutheran School, thinks of liberty, he thinks of America.
“The United States really is the land of liberty,” he wrote. “It was earned by Americans who died to make sure we can have it. We have soldiers who are ready to fight people who don’t want us to enjoy liberty.”
Wilczek won first place in the middle-school category in the Carson City School District’s 13th annual American Citizen Essay Contest.
The winners read their essays on the topic, “The Land of Liberty: What it means to me,” at Tuesday’s board meeting.
The essay contest began in 2002 to support patriotism in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It’s open to any public, charter, private or home-schooled student in Carson City.
Noah Shek, of Silver State Charter School, won the high school level with his essay where he explored the different ways people use their liberties every day.
“Expressing myself and my opinion is a right that I am glad to have,” he wrote. “I use this right daily, and so does most everyone I meet. I cannot imagine living in a country without free speech.”
Mark Twain Elementary School fifth-grader Jocelyn Foster took a more existential approach.
“Liberty is power,” he wrote. “Not power over a country, or other people of any kind, but power over yourself. ...Liberty means freedom to choose what course we will take in our own lives, what path we follow, what contributions we will make in our society, and ultimately, to the world.”
The winners for each level — elementary school, middle school and high school — will receive the following cash prizes: first place, $80; second place, $30; and third place, $15.
Winners were selected from 176 entries. There were 24 elementary school entrants, 61 from middle school and 91 at the high school level.
Also at the school board meeting:
• Nevada Photo Source, owned by Cathleen Allison, was selected as the independent contractor to provide marketing and public relations for the Carson City School District.