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US Politics

DNCC National Youth Essay Contest * Grade 8 & 12 Winners to Denver Convention

The two Presidential winners will attend the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.

DENVER – Out of a sizeable pool of nearly 1,200 applicants, fifty-four middle and high school students from across Colorado were announced today as finalists in the “Write to Lead” youth essay contest. Finalists will serve as ambassadors to state and territorial delegations, while two Presidential Winners – one middle and one high school student – will attend the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Jared Jolton, an eighth-grade student at Colorado Academy in Denver, and Mari Tanabe, an eleventh-grade student at Manitou Springs High School, in Manitou Springs, Colo. were chosen as the Presidential Winners. Judges concluded that the themes in their essays, titled “In Front of the Pack” and “Restless for Change” respectively, best captured the spirit of this year’s historic election.

PS. For the enjoyment of Telling Thoughts readers here are the 2 winning essays……

“In Front of the Pack”

By Jared Jolton

There is a saying that “unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes.” Out in front of the pack, the leader chooses the course for the team and blazes a trail. The dog behind follows obediently, with a static view of just what is in front of him: another wagging tail. I think that there is one thing wrong with this picture: to be a good leader the top dog must assume many positions within the pack.

It is only by experiencing all of the points of view of the group that a leader can be successful. The same is true with human leaders as well. A leader who only stands in front of people and not within them will never have the support necessary to accomplish great things. A leader who is elitist and unapproachable will falter because there is not a mutual respect with his constituency.

A leader who desires his role only because of the perks of the position will tie of his responsibilities and ultimately fail. However, a leader who isn’t afraid to make others look good will have the support of many. A leader, who is true and honest, first with himself and always with others, will be able to recognize and admit mistakes and learn from them accordingly.  (comment by john hay– I believe the word tie near the end of the first line in this para is meant to read tire – I have left it as I have no editing authority)

A leader, who is able to see the big picture, set the tone and direction for a group and then let individuals use their own talents and self direction will meet with great success. Leading is not a right, it is a privilege. Whether you are young or old, when another person puts their trust in your judgment you have accepted the responsibility to not abuse that trust and to serve to the best of your ability.

As a leader, the challenge will always be present to lead those who have supported you and more importantly those who did not choose your selection. A leader does this by putting aside personal goals and working for the greatest good for everyone. As the dog team marches along their journey, the top dog who has surrounded himself with a good team and knows the big picture of the group’s goal will surely and safely reach his destination.

And the next time the team is harnessed, his pack will gladly trust their leader as they set off on another adventure.

Link to original letter Democratic National Convention Committee

“Restless for Change”

By Mari Jackson Tanabe

“And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you—sk what you can do for your country.” The wise words of John F. Kennedy are timeless and resonate loudly in the upcoming election of 2008. The future of our country is change and the power behind that change is the people. Individuals are becoming involved and are participating in government because the world is quickly shifting, and everyone wants a voice in the change.

As an active citizen, I am growing restless as I review our nation’s past. I am tired of the same solutions to the same issues. I am ready, as I believe many other citizens are, for a fresh voice and a new perspective. In a positive light, the world crises open a new door for change. Issues like global warming, the Iraqi War, the genocide in Africa, healthcare, and immigration give people a reason to participate in government and become passionate.

Protests, rallies, and petitions, are creating energy behind the social injustices in the world, and the enthusiasm to solve these issues creates immense momentum to carry the entire nation. Our leader needs to ride this great wave of change. He or she can lead the wave to the shore by continually motivating people to personally take part in the change, or the leader can lose the respect of his or her followers causing the wave to crash without a ripple of lasting change.

Our leader must listen to the chants for change across the country. We all live under the pledge of “liberty and justice for all,” and we all must work together to achieve this dream. The leader must inspire Americans to pursue their beliefs together, no matter which party they belong to. Our leader must also possess creativity. Americans have grown immune to the way problems have been presented in the past, and so the leader needs imagination and vision to approach the problem and the solution in and entirely new fashion.

Lastly, our leader must demonstrate dedication to the changes he or she is proposing. When the people earn trust for the leader through his or her great sacrifices, then they will be willing to offer the same dedication and hard work.

I as an American I have received many blessings, and I hope to share my good fortune with others around me. I hope this country’s leader will do the same. America has the opportunity to help many people, and so the greatest quality a leader needs is integrity. The leader needs to act with genuine sincerity and show that he or she truly cares about those around him or her, allowing the leader’s intentions to match his or her actions. The leader will have great expectations to fill, but great power to do so.

As John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence ‐ nothing more, nothing less.” The way our leader chooses to use this influence will define our future.

Link to original letter Democratic National Convention Committee


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