GRANITE CITY — Kenzie Hawkins’ freshman year at Granite City High was memorable.
First, she was part of the Warriors girls’ soccer team that won its second straight regional championship.
In May, she won the high school division of the Patriots In the Park Essay Contest. She was one of 940 contestants.
“It’s great being picked No. 1 out of 940,” Hawkins said.
The contest is divided into 10 divisions from kindergarten to high school. The top three in each division receive a medal.
Hawkins, along with the other first-place winners, read her essay during the City Council meeting June 21 at City Hall in Granite City.
“It’s a pleasure to be able to read in front of the mayor and show that you have support for the community,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins wrote an essay titled “Working Together For a Better Community.” She first wrote the five-paragraph essay for extra credit in her English class before her teacher, Lisa Miller, decided to enter it in the contest.
“It took me a couple of weeks to get it all together,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins was one of seven freshmen who played varsity with the Granite City girls’ soccer team this spring. She scored a pair of goals and had one assist.
Hawkins competed in the contest several times while she was a student at Holy Family School. She graduated in 2015.
She said she likes competing in the contest.
“It’s a good opportunity to be able to inspire your community,” the 15-year-old Hawkins said.
Her sister, Brynn, a Holy Family student, finished third in the third-grade division.
Holy Family had 16 contestants who finished in the top three; five of them finished in first place. They were Priscilla Ritz (kindergarten), Emily Sykes (fourth grade), Michael Atkins (fifth grade), Kayli Mance (seventh grade) and Ellie Wiehardt (eighth grade).
St. Elizabeth had a pair of champions in Nathaniel Wilmsmeyer (second grade) and Rileigh Hayes (sixth grade). Emily Horton of Maryville won the third-grade division and Judah Young of Worthen placed first in the first-grade division.
Following is a list of essays that finished in the top three in each division in the Patriots In The Park Essay Contest. The theme of this year’s contest is “Working Together For A Better Community.”
First place: Priscilla Ritz, Holy Family
We should pick up our trash, cut our grass and take care of our homes to make neighborhoods nice. We should help old people if they can’t do it alone. We can also help them clean their homes so they will have a nice place to live.
Second place: Anna Taylor, Holy Family
I can make the community better. I can help people if they fall. I can give some money to the poor.
Third place: Tara Gerber, Holy Family
I would make our community a better place by picking up trash in the parks and by telling other kids not to litter. I would like people to be nice to each other and not to do bad things.
First place: Judah Young, Worthen
Taking care of our community is important. First, if you see trash, pick it up. Next, recycle plastic, glass and paper. Also, use less water to save more water. In conclusion, taking of our community is important.
Second place: Andrew Willaredt, Frohardt
Community helpers make the community better by helping and giving to others. My favorite community help is a banker. It helps people by loaning them money to buy houses. It is important to have a house to protect you from storms and bad guys. I like my house in Granite City because it is a nice place to live.
Third place: Lucy Laws, Holy Family
By working together, we can make our community better. I can donate clothes, food and toys to less fortunate. I could work with the police to keep parks safe for kids to play. We could have our schools take turns cleaning up trash from the parks. It is a group effort.
First place: Nathaniel Wilmsmeyer, St. Elizabeth
This is how kids make a better community. Kids can recycle. Also, they can pick up trash. Children can donate money, furniture and toys. That will really help our community and the poor. One time, I donated $160 to the poor. This is how kids can make a better community.
Second place: Greta Lemaster, Holy Family
I love Granite City, and I have many ways that I can work to make it a better place. I love animals, especially dogs. I could volunteer at the animal shelter. They need volunteers to help walk dogs, clean and feed the animals. I could donate money or supplies to the animal shelter. This would be fun and help the animals. I could also donate money, clothes, used books, computers and cell phones to needy people. We need to clean our hose and have a lot of used items that we could give away. This would raise money to help other people. I could be a friend to new kids at school or on my sports teams. I love to be outside at Wilson Park. The trees and flowers are really pretty. I could help by planting flowers and trees make Granite City prettier. I could also help by working at the community garden. This makes our town a better place to live by giving people food and a place to work together. If we all do our part, we can make Granite City an even better place to live.
Third place: Gavin Sipes, Frohardt
I can help my community by planting trees, picking up trash and recycling. Everyone should treat our community better not just a select few. We can help our community by planting trees where they are need. If I planted trees it would help give animals more places to live. Another way to help is by picking up trash. By doing this it helps our community stay beautiful. I can volunteer to pick up trash my church Calvary Life. They own a part of Maryville Road and clean it twice a year. Everyone in our city should recycle to help reduce waste, I help by recycling my school papers, water bottles and cans. If we recycle our used trash they can be turned into new things. I like doing these things because it helps our community be a better place to live.
First place: Emily Horton, Maryville
Everyone should work together in a community to make it a better place to live. With these steps you can achieve a better community. With teamwork, confidence and strength your community will be a better place.
Try to walk and ride bikes more often to avoid pollution. It would help the community by not putting exhaust fumes into the air. It would help people’s health by more exercise. A healthier community is a happier community.
Volunteer at a local animal shelter. It would help animals in need if everyone volunteered some time. It would give animals good loving homes. Volunteering at a local animal shelter would help people appreciate animals more.
Donating items to the homeless would help our community. Keeping the poor warm with clothes in the winter shows you care about the people in our community. When we donate food we help to feed the poor. The donation of money to charities would help give medicine to the homeless.
Helping your community is important. I would love to help my community. It would make me feel good.
Second place: Merina Scott, Maryville
It is important that everyone in a community work together to make their community better. Working together to make our community better will help everyone in that community.
We can help our community by volunteering to clean up trash in neighborhoods and parks. I would clean the neighborhoods so that the neighborhood does not look so dirty. I would clean the parks so that there is more room for the children to play. It would also make it safer for the children to play. Cleaning up trash in the parks and neighborhoods would keep pets from getting sick from eating things they shouldn’t eat.
I would volunteer at a local animal shelter to help my community. I would want to try and find homes for lost kittens, puppies, cats, dogs and other animals. If the animals are out, I would feet them and take care of them.
We can help our community by painting and repairing houses that need it. I would like to help paint and repair houses so that the people that live there are safe. I would also want to paint the houses so that the neighborhood looks pretty. It would be good to make sure everyone has a good home to come too.
Working together for a better community will make me feel amazing. It makes me feel amazing because I like seeing the beautiful paintings, the clean parks, and the beautiful safe animals.
Third place: Brynn Hawkins, Holy Family
Granite City is a perfect example of people working together to make a community. I can look all around and see proof that everyone can make a difference. I see examples of how people work together and share our community.
Every day on our may way to and from school, we pass the Community Garden at the Old Six Mile Museum. I see members of the community working together to grow food and raise money. I see grandparents, parents and children working to plant and water. Seeing this is my community has inspired me to plant a garden and share the food with my neighbors.
Along with the garden, I also noticed the library. There is a place near the garden where you can borrow books or donate books for others to read. This is another way for everyone to contribute to the community. I do my part to give back by taking books to the library. I am proud that our community keeps the library full of books.
Finally, we have many clean parks and playgrounds in our community. When the weather is nice, people enjoy Wilson Park by walking the bike path, playing tennis or playing on the playground. Everyone in the community can work together to keep the park clean and safe. When I am in the park, I help to take care of the playground and pick up trash to keep it clean.
We can all make a difference in our community by doing little things every day. We are all responsible for sharing the gifts of our community with everyone.
First place: Emily Sykes, Holy Family
There are many things we can do together to make our community a better place. I want to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. Ways I can do this are to help Granite City litter free, be a good neighbor and volunteer.
When people look around, they might see trash. This makes our community look bad. By using trash cans and recycle bins, we can keep the trash where it belongs. There will always be people who do not put trash where it belongs, so I can be one who does. When I am at the park, I can throw things where they belong.
I can also be a good neighbor. Being a good neighbor can be many things. I can help the elderly keep their yard up. I can shovel their snow in the winter. I can also check on them to make sure they are okay. Being a good neighbor makes your street look better and also makes people feel good about where they live.
The last way I can help better my community is to volunteer. Being a volunteer helps clubs and organizations save money but still make things better. The Old Six Mile Museum is getting a new roof. I can volunteer to help clean up the shingles and nails after they are done. This will make the museum look even better with a new roof. I can also volunteer to help the animal shelters, TWIGS and other organizations that try to help our community.
These are just a few of the things I can do to help my community. Imagine if one person from each family does this in our community, that will be a lot of people working together to make our community a better place to live and raise a family.
Second place: Joseph Willis, Holy Family
There are many ways to work together for a better community. Anytime someone can help other people, they are helping our community. Here are some examples that I do on a regular basis. I like to work together in Cub Scouts, stay active in church and get involved with other people in the community.
I am a Webelos 1 Cub Scout for Pack 103 at Holy Family School. We do a lot of fun things to help our church and our community. We have done fundraisers like Scouting For Food to collect canned goods from people to help families in need. In Scouts, we do projects to make things better and to clean up when we can. A good scout always leaves his place better than the way he found it. We also do things to help our community like the time we planted flowers downtown in front of the Kool Beanz Café.
Going to church is a great way to help our community. I attend mass on a regular basis and pray for our school, church and other people in our world that need help. When we leave church, we leave in peace, and spread the word of God. I like to help out in church when I can. I serve in masses and help my grandma at our church fish fries. It is always a lot of fun.
Getting involved in the community is a great way to make it better. I like to play sports. I play basketball through my school and baseball through the Granite City Park District. It is a great way to have fun and meet new people. I also like to shop and support our local businesses, like getting some ice cream from Mr. Twist or getting a burger from the Park Grill. Lastly, I like to help other people when I can. Helping a neighbor shovel their driveway, or holding a door for someone and wishing them a good day is a positive way to help.
There are so many ways to work together for a better community. Some of the best ways are going to church to spread the word of God and helping our neighbors. Working together for fundraisers, cleaning up our city, playing sports, or supporting local businesses are great things to do also. In conclusion, I think the best way to work together for a better community is to help other. I will leave you with a quote from Phillippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others.”
Third place: Madison Holland, Holy Family
Community involvement is very important. It takes all kinds of people to make a community work. People like the citizens, the city workers, police officers, volunteers and business owners help keep a community strong and together. I am apart of the Granite City Community, and I love every part of my involvement in it.
I am apart of my community by playing many sports for the Granite City Park District. I started playing T-ball when I was five years old, and I started playing basketball when I was six years old. I got to meet lots of friends and played for very fun coaches. It allowed me to play against other kids in the community and to learn what being a good sports is all about.
As a member of my community, I purchase goods for my house within the community. I like to eat out all of the time, so the money helps people who work at the restaurants where I like to eat. It helps people who work at the places I like keep their businesses open. We try to stay in Granite City as much as we can, because my dad said it is important to keep our businesses close to where we live.
Lastly, I see myself being positive in the community by being proud of where I live and to tell other people about it. I tell people who don’t live in my community about all of the neat thing that I get to see and do. I go to Holy Family School, eat at Weathervane Ice Cream, play at Wilson Par, ice skate at the ice rink and get crab Rangoon from Vin Hoa. All of these places are only found in my community. My mom has friends who come to our community to enjoy some of these things, too.
Everyone in their community should do their part to take care of it, be apart of it and support it in every way. I play sports in my community, shop and eat at businesses in my community and brag to my friends who don’t live in Granite City about my community. I am proud to live in Granite City and will keep doing all of the things I love to keep my community happy and strong.
First place: Michael Atkins, Holy Family
There are many ways people can make a positive impact on their community. We have social, political, economic and religious responsibilities. I personal try to be the best citizen I can be. I work very hard to be a successful member of the city.
I take my social duties to heart. I participate in Granite City Park District’s baseball program. I am a dedicated hockey player for Twin Bridges Lightning and the Granite City Ice Rink is one of our home rinks. I have taken a part in numerous parades with my school, baseball team and the Knights of Columbus. I am also an active Cub Scout. As a Cub Scout, I join in with other Cub Scouts to collect food for those in need, work to clean up our city, and I am looking forward to one day doing an amazing Eagle Scout project to help our city.
Years ago, my great, great, great uncle Casmir Skubish showed me what it meant to be politically involved with our community. His service has always inspired me to do great things. I also admire Mayor Hagnauer and the love he shows for our wonderful city. One day I hope I can be like these men that have been such positive role models.
We all have economic responsibilities to our city. I know when I grew up I will play taxes to our city. The money I pay will go to our schools, fire department, library, parks and police. Without all of our funds, our city could not operate. At this time in my life, I try to shop in our city, go to our Granite City Cinema to see movies and eat at our yummy restaurants. It is important to spend our money in our city!
As a student at Holy Family Catholic School and an active member of our parish, I am serious about my religious duties. I am proud to be trained as a server for Sunday Mass as funerals. I like to volunteer to work our dinners and events and when our city is facing troubles, I pray for us. I have had wonderful Catholic role models such as my principal, Mrs. Pennell, my teachers, my priest, Father Jeff Holtman, and my parents. They all help me to be a better person by teaching me how to be more like Jesus.
Granite City is a wonderful place to live. I love growing up here and I want to see our city grow. I will continue to be active socially, politically, economically and religiously. If we all do this, we would be working together for a better community!
Second place: Maddox Kennedy, Grigsby
I can make a positive impact on my community in many ways. I can be a responsible citizen, help others and make positive choices.
First, I can be a responsible citizen. I can accomplish this by obeying the laws and showing respect to our police officers. I can also recycle and not litter.
Next, I can help others. When my neighbors go out of town I get their mail and paper. I listen to my little brother read stories. I do chores at home to help keep my home clean.
Last, I can make positive choices for my future. My plans include finishing high school and going to college. When I am done with all of my schooling I can return to this city with all of my family and keep it a nice place to raise a family.
This is how I plan on making a positive impact on our community. I will be a responsible citizen, help others and make positive choices.
Third place: Kaleigh Pekarik, Holy Family
Working together for a better community may be hard work, but it can make life a lot better. Making a community better is easier than you think. We all can make economic, social and religious impacts by donating our time and resources to worthy causes in the towns that we live in. By giving money, clothes and toys to charities, volunteering at Twigs and helping out at my church, I am trying to do my part to help out my community. Continuing to do these things and more can only help our community grow stronger in the future.
Charities in my town are a great way for me to give back to those who are less fortunate. At my school, Holy Family, we donate to the Mission Childhood Association. I try to save up all of my extra money to give for those in need. I also give away my unused clothes and during the holiday season, I give to toys to Toys For Tots so that other children can have a good Christmas. We can all do more, and in the future, I hope to be able to donate more things as well as my time to help out my community more.
During my time doing Girls On The Run, I was able to help out at Twigs, a great organization that provides foods for children who do not have enough to eat. This is wonderful way to help bring our community together as we are able to provide these children with food that they desperately need. I hope to continue to help out at organizations such as Twigs more as I grow older because it makes me feel like I am doing something to help out my community. I also want to get more involved in other social activities such as helping our beautiful Wilson Park clean and encourage my friends and family members to donate their time to charities as well.
Religion is a very important part of my life. Going to a Catholic school has helped me to realize that we need to help others in our community. I have also gotten the opportunity to be an alter person at my church and help to collect money for organizations such as the Mosaic Baby Bottle Campaign through my church and school. Doing these things not only strengthens my church but also helps out my community and those who are less fortunate.
My community is very important to me. Helping out economically, socially and religiously are all ways that I try to make a positive impact on my community. Through donating money and resources to charities, my times and efforts to organizations and my church and school, I believe that I am helping to make my community better. Writing this paper has made me realize that I have done many things to create a positive impact, but also that there is more that I can do in the future. We can all do more for our communities and must continue to t ry harder to help bring our community closer together.
First place: Rileigh Hayes, St. Elizabeth
In order to make our community successful, we have to take time and want to make our community better. People can work together in a group, but you have to help the community on your own too. Everyone can make their community better, you just have to be willing to make it better. I can make it a positive impact on my community by recycling, picking up trash, being friendly with people and respecting everything around me.
By recycling I can make a positive impact on the community. Recycling makes the community cleaner and creates less air pollution. If you recycle it decreases the amount of trash in a landfill. If you don’t have a recycling bin, then you should really get one. Recycling helps to keep the air cleaner which means a healthier environment for us, and it is healthier for the animals. Recycling is very important for the community to be a better place.
Another way I can make the community cleaner is to pick up trash. Picking up trash makes the streets cleaner, and makes the community look better and nicer. Not everyone cares for the community like they should, so it’s our responsibility to do the right thing and pick up their litter when we see it. If you care for the community like you should, then you shouldn’t litter and begin to help the community out.
A third way you can help make the community become better is by being nice to others. Being nice to others may not seem like a big deal, or like it would help the community but it actually does. One way it helps is if you’re nice to them they will be nice to you. If you are nice to each other then there won’t be any arguments or fights for the police to break up. If the police don’t have to worry about people arguing or fighting, they can work on more important tasks like robberies, murders and other crimes. Another reason being kind to one another is they’ll be less likely to do things like vandalize your house, litter in your yard, steal your belonging or tear up your property. There will be less conflicts with people if you’re nice to others within the community.
There are many things you can do to help your community. Recycling, picking up trash, being kind to others and respecting property are just a few examples. Some things that people can do are easy and some may take longer, but they all help to make the community better. The little things we do in our community can make a big difference. We can all make a positive impact in our community.
Second place: Allison Broadwater, St. Elizabeth
To make our community better, we need every single person to help out. We need everyone to help keep our community clean and safe. I can help my community by planting more trees and plants around my neighborhood, being respectful to neighbors and not littering.
I think planting trees and other plants in my neighborhood will make an impact on my community. It will help keep the air a little bit cleaner and make the landscape more beautiful. It is also a good idea to grow fruits and vegetables. By growing fruits and vegetables, schools can teach kids how to plant their own food. It is good to plant new plants because we need fresh and clean air to breathe, which keeps the community healthy.
Being respectful to your neighbors is another important aspect of having a strong community. It will make it so there aren’t any arguments. Sometimes the police can be called and they will have to spend time on a problem that could have been resolved yourselves. The police have a lot of work to do in the city, and they need to be called only for big issues. Our police do so much for not only our community, but for all communities. We just always need to be respectful to others around us.
Another thing I can do for my community is not littering. Littering is a big issue in this world, and we need to fix it. I can help stop the problem of littering by telling others not to do it, by making sure I spend some time on the weekends picking up trash, and by joining an organization that can help stop the problem. I can make an impact by helping make my community cleaner.
I really think that by planting new trees and plants, being respectful to neighbors and not littering will help my community be a safer and cleaner place for everyone to enjoy. I can help my community with all of these examples because it is important for the community to stay happy and healthy. I can help make my community strong by using these ideas to help. We all need to go out and help our community today.
Third place: Lawson Kimble, Holy Family
I am grateful to attend Holy Family School in my community of Granite City, Illinois. My teachers have taught me the value of being a spiritual leader, in my community. I am also lucky to have parents and have family members who have influenced me to try to be a leader. Many family friends that are business owners in my community have inspired me to want to give back to the businesses that make Granite City such an amazing place to grow up.
I have learned that I believe and trust in God that I can be a successful contributor and well-respected community member. It is up to me to contribute even at an early age to better my community. My school sets a good example for me by holding many charity drives every year. They have taught me that it is better to give than to receive. I told my mom that we should be giving to the needy around our town all during the year, not just during Christmas. A few summers ago, my mom and I began giving food to the homeless once a week. On really hot days, we would take cases of water downtown. We have made many new friends that we look out for in our community. One of our new friends even tells us a new joke every time we see him. This helps bridge a gap among citizens in our community.
I can be a spiritual leader in my school community by continuing serving masses at school. I try really hard to pay attention in mass by following along to the Gospel. I hope that other kids will see me being reverent and showing respect to the church. Setting a good example for littler kids makes me feel good. I try really hard not to miss mass due to my sporting activities. My grandma always says, “If you can’t make it to mass, then you have no business playing in a game.”
I try to help my community economically by spending my money in Granite City. If I want new sporting gear, I try to buy it at Hibbett Sports. If I want a new video game, I buy it at Wal-Mart or K-Mart. I buy my sports drinks at Quick Trip before hockey instead of buying it at the rink in St. Louis. If we win a game and go out to eat to celebrate, we come home to Granite City to eat at local restaurants instead of eating in Chesterfield.
I can help my community socially by trying to be a leader and loyal friend. I stick up for my friends and let them know that it not OK to be bullied. I try to encourage younger kids than I am at volleyball at school. I tell them “good try” and pat them on the back if they are feeling scared or embarrassed. This past year, I was in the Knights of Columbus free throw contest. I was tied for first place with a boy I didn’t know that went to Grigsby. We shot for the tie breaker and I. I beat him by only one shot. He was so disappointed! I patted him on the back and told him, “Good job.” I could tell that his dad was really disappointed too! This boy was really talented and his basketball skills were much better than mine. It just came down to luck. I could tell that the contest meant a lot more to him than it meant to me so I asked my dad if he could take my place. My mom called someone at the Knights of Columbus as set it up. He went on to the next round and I was so proud of him when I heard that he won. I knew he could do it.! I hope that I went go to the high school I might see him and we could be friends. I bet one day he might be in the same position I was and “Do the right thing” to make someone else happy.
I can also help my community socially by spending time here. It makes me feel proud to spend time and take advantage of the many amazing places that my community has to offer. I have my birthday parties every year at the park pool. The money they make from the concession stand and party rental will help keep the pool nice for future generations. I love going to the ice rink on Friday nights. Nick Grote is a good citizen and sets a good example for the kids there. He makes sure that no one is bullied and that makes me feel safe in my town. I enjoy playing baseball for the Jr. Warriors and wearing a jersey that looks like the high school kids. It is a big responsibility to be a good teammate. Each team players must encourage others to have good sportsmanship and make the right decisions.
As you can see, I want to make my community proud by giving back to people who have worked so hard to make Granite City a great home! I will always try to be an honest friend, a leader to my peers, a spiritual leader to those in my church community, and economic contributor to my town. It has been a privilege writing this essay and I would like to thank everyone who has inspired me to make good choices and want to be a well-respected citizen of my community.
First place: Kayli Mance, Holy Family
The theme of this year’s Patriots in the Park is “Working Together For A Better Community.” We can work together by cleaning and keeping our community safe. Everyone can work together by keeping stores and restaurants clean. We should warn our friends to keep neighborhoods safe for the kids and everyone. At the park, tell others to pick up trash and not to write on the slides.
When I am older, I will participate in political voting and this is how I can impact the political make-up of my community. I will volunteer with in my community and also put signs in my yards for presidential candidates. Lastly, I will help set up the voters’ stands and anything else needed for Election Day.
How can I impact my community economically? I will study hard and pursue a good education. I will work as hard as I can for the processions that I have. I can also stay in my hometown and buy a local house. I will boast about Granite City stores to encourage everyone to shop here, and I will also.
How can I impact my community religiously? I will go to church and spread the word to others. I think that giving food to the poor will help out our community religiously. I will always do good deeds for others. If someone is lonely or hurt, I will comfort them.
Ways that I can impact my community socially are campaigning for a youth center and participating in community events like parades. I will always participate in Patriots In The Park and help pick up trash around the city. I will choose to not write on park playgrounds to keep our community a nicer place.
Second place: Matt Wilson, Holy Family
It is important to work together because together we can do things faster and easier and make the world a better place. By working together, we can accomplish goals we can’t do alone. We can’t do everything alone, so we sometimes need some help. Let’s talk about the ways we can work together.
By working together, we can impact the political makeup of our community. We can vote for government officials because of our opinions about them. We can also run for office to become a government official. The votes by all of the people in the states of the United States are counted and choose the government officials.
By buying items at local stores in our community, we can impact the economic makeup of our community. We can study in school and college very hard and get good jobs to make money. In our community, there are many stores. If all of the people in our community buy clothes, food, or other things at the stores, we can impact their economic makeup.
The religions in our community can vary, but there are still many people who have the same religion. The more people of a religion, the more the religion will be impacted. There are different things people believe in their religion. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, there are still many religions being impacted by many people.
Together, we can plan for parades and social events and impact the social makeup of our community. We can plan for special events and help people with planning events. July 4th is a great time to celebrate, plan, and visit friends and family. By helping plan for events we can help people plan faster, be prepared for upcoming occasions, and make it easier and faster to decorate and prepare.
Third place: Evany Hernandez, Coolidge Jr. High
Granite City is my hometown. I’ve lived here my whole life and I like it because I feel safe here. But I want to help to make it even better and safer.
Volunteer work is just one way to help Granite City, or any other city, be a better place. You could walk around and pick up trash. It’s an easy thing to do and it makes a big difference in the environment. Maybe you wold like to make a garden. You could grow fresh vegetables for you and your community!
Another way to help your hometown is by donating clothes. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have nice clothes so it would be awesome if we could help those in need. Also donating some shoes because some people don’t have any shoes.
I think book clubs are another way to help your community. Book clubs can help with people’s reading skills and may even help you to socialize a little bit more. It could always be something new to try!
Another awesome way to help in making a better community is teaching or just helping people learn and do new things. It’s a really good way to educate yourself and others.
I help my community by recycling. Even though it’s a small thing to do, I know it makes a big impact. It think it feels great being able to help in some way. Even if it’s small and simple.
First place: Ellie Wiehardt, Holy Family
A community is a place where individuals live and share common beliefs, attitudes, interests and goals. The commonly shared beliefs, attitudes and goals should be to better the community in which you live and should be ongoing. I believe there are many ways I am already working to better my community and there are ways I one day hope to contribute as well.
Economically I think it is important to buy products from local stores, to buy food from local farmers and to support the local agencies by giving back. An example of that is my family donates to Salvation Army and Goodwill. My family also purchases food at the local produce stands that are set up by the farmers. By purchasing from local stores and farmers it allows them to stay within the community.
Socially I think it is important to be active in the community. To know what events are taking place and get involved. One way I get involved socially is by helping out at our parish picnic. My family runs one of the booths and I help. My family also will participate when the Boy Scouts put the food bags on our porch, we fill them and then put them back out to be picked up. The food they collect is given to a local food bank which then helps the families in my community.
Politically I think the most important thing is to be educated and to ask questions. I think it is important to know who is running and for what office and to know where they stand on certain beliefs. Do they share the same beliefs as me? Will they fight from the better of the community? I think it is important for someone who is running for a position in my community to be from the community. To know our past and what we want for our future. I will also register to vote when I turn 18 so I can have a say in who gets elected.
Religion, I think, is an important part of a community. To be part of something bigger. To having something to put your faith in when things seems out of your control. We also have the freedom of choice when it comes to religion so it is important to respect people’s differences. Religion also brings people together in a parish family and then as a parish family they give back to the community. My school holds different collections throughout the year for local agencies within our community. I contribute to those collections which then goes out to help the community.
I am still young and unable to do some of the things I think are important but what I can do, I do and it makes a difference. I think it is important to know what goes on in your community and get to know people in your neighborhood. My family goes to the local high school events, the picnics and carnivals to show support and to be involved. I know I will continue all these traditions as I get older.
Second place: Austin McKinney, Holy Family
The topic of this essay is, “Working Together For A Better Community.” There are many ways for many different kinds of people to make a positive change in their environment. They can be optimistic and kind, practice religions without promoting religious superiority (because sometimes one religion thinks of itself as better than another), volunteer, and do lots of other things to make a positive impact on their community.
I can help the community be a happy, kind place in many ways, even though I am only 13 years old. I can partake in community service, help at church events, and try to be the best person I can for my community by following community rules and honoring law enforcement. I could also better the community by bettering myself. I could be non-disruptive at school, helpful at home and volunteer at an animal shelter.
I can make a positive impact on the community in more ways than just going somewhere and doing something, though. I could shop at local businesses (or persuade my parents to), be kind and helpful to all, and be a trustworthy person. I could be loyal to a friend, try to make amends with an enemy, and not bully others. I could work in a community garden and make sure some food gets donated to those in need who can’t afford fresh fruits and vegetables.
I could be kinder to anymore and focus on all of the good in life. I could avoid fights, donate to charities, and respect everyone. I could grow up and get a good education that I can use to make some great positive change in my community and to be informed so I can make better political decisions. I could also promote social gatherings that bring together all kinds of people, no matter their ethnicity or circumstances.
If I could do all of these things to better the community, then I believe that anyone could. I believe that these shouldn’t be just possibilities, but ideals. All people should strive to think of themselves first less often, to find ways to make the lives of others better, and to put others first in life. Material things won’t make you happy, time spent with people, sharing common bonds or interests, and helping others will be the things you remember in life. Let’s work together to make a better community!
Third place: Vanessa Luna, St. Elizabeth
When people travel through Granite City, they are probably just thinking about where they are trying to get. They don’t pay much attention to the place that they are in. Here in Granite City, we don’t have many important things going on that will make people come from all over to try, see, taste or smell. We have lots of room for improvement, and together we can all make Granite City an amazing place.
In this community we have wonderful heroes that work hard to keep the community alive and safe. One example is policemen, they work their hardest to keep everyone safe. They have created a wonderful program called SABRE. This program was designed to teach kids about the dangers of drugs. Our firemen are putting our fires when needed and rescuing people when they are stuck in a burning building. Firemen also got to different schools to teach about fire safety. They always say that fire is very dangerous and that if our houses were to ever catch fire, that our families should have a plan. They also teach us at a very young age that if you ever catch fire to stop, drop and roll! There are many teachers in Granite City that work their hardest to make sure that they are setting their students up for success. Teachers don’t normally get paid a lot of money, so we can repay them with our gratitude. These are only a few of the many heroes in Granite City.
Granite City has old businesses, but there are many new businesses popping up everywhere. For example, Kool Beanz Cafe is a little cafe that opened not too long ago in downtown Granite City. It’s small and cozy which makes many people want to go back. The food and drinks are very good as well, making Kool Beanz grow in popularity. Almost all of the businesses that are in downtown Granite City have that warm, small town hospitality. There is also a new movie theater that was just built where many families like to go on weekends to spend time together.
Children are the next generation and it is up to us kids to decide how we want our hometown to end up. The fate of Granite City lies in our hands. It is never too early and too late to start making Granite City a better place. Not just adults can make a difference in this town. Kind can leave a mark as well. We can volunteer at nursing homes to sit with elderly and talk to them or play games with them. We can visit sick people at the hospital and play games with them as well so that they don’t feel lonely. Volunteering at the APA is another good way to make a difference. For example, when I volunteered at the APA, I played with the all the cute little cats and I walked the dogs. Everyone can work their hardest to keep Granite City as clean as possible. People can spend a whole day cleaning parks and making sure playgrounds are safe for kids to play on. We can also beautify our town. For example, when I was in Girl Scouts, we would sometimes go to the park and pick up papers and other trash that people left behind. One time, when I was a Girl Scout, my group planted flowers in front of schools. Last summer, I worked on fixing up the science lab at St. Elizabeth School. I got some of my friends together and we reorganized everything that was in there. We had to throw a lot of stuff away because it was old or had no purpose. After we did all that, we painted the shelves and made it look new. Those were just a few things that I was able to do for the community.
Everyone can participate in making our community a better place. We can make our little town a place that visitors won’t ever forget. Kids will grow up in a good community with wonderful policemen and firemen to keep them safe. They will also have teachers that will set their kids up for success. Let’s all go out and make our community, hometown, Granite City an amazing place to live.
First place: Kenzie Hawkins, Granite City High
By definition, a community is a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. However, a community can be much more than just a group of people living near each other. It can also represent fellowship with other, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals. Building a great community and creating the feeling of fellowship takes works and commitment. There are many ways we can all work together for a better community. Specifically, I can have a significant impact by becoming involved at school, supporting local events and organizations, and learning about our history to preserve local culture and traditions.
It is important for teens to become involved at school. No matter what your passion, you should become involved. It is important to create a strong high school community. Everyone wants that feeling of fellowship and belonging. Involvement helps us make friends who share similar interests, talents and goals. It also provides the opportunity to be good role models and leaders while helping each other make good decisions. Creating a sense of community in high school will teach us how to make our larger Granite City community better.
Another way I can have an impact on my community is to support local events and organizations. Granite City has many exciting events throughout the year including church picnics, parades, festivals and the Patriots in the Park celebration. Attending these events and acting as a role model can help to make our community great. I can directly impact the perception of our community by serving as a good example to those are visiting. In addition, attending these events will ensure that they continue in the future. We can all do our part to support our community events.
Finally, one of the easiest ways to improve our community is to learn about its history. It is important to understand how and why our community was formed. Learning about the people and businesses that formed our community can help us appreciate our community’s roots and evolution. Our community is made up of many different cultures and beliefs. This basic understanding of our community will help us to set new goals for the future. This is how our community continues to grow. Everyone much do their part to understand where we have been in order to determine where we go next as a community. This is especially important for our current and future political leaders.
There are many things we can all do to make our community better. Serving the community by volunteering or cleaning up the neighborhood clearly makes a positive impact. However, in addition to giving our times and talents, there are many other ways we can make a difference. Becoming an active member in the community creates a sense of fellowship and belonging. I can actively participate in my high school community to make my community better. I can also contribute by acting as a role model while attending and supporting local events. Finally, learning about our history ensures that we serve both current and future members of the community. All of these activities are examples of how we can make our community more than just a shared living space. We can all work together to create fellowship and belonging within our Granite City community.