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Liberty Elementary fifth-grader pens award-winning essay
MARYSVILLE — Liberty Elementary fifth-grader Litzahaya Macias may be just 11 years old, but she already knows what freedom means to her.
Macias was prompted by her teacher to enter the Everett Elks Lodge 479 annual Americanism essay contest, whose theme this year was “What Freedom Means to Me.”
Her answer has impressed each tier of essay contest judges to read it so far. Macias’ essay was one of 126 entries received by the Everett Elks Lodge, who selected its as their first-place winner for the fifth- and sixth-grade division. Macias’ essay went on to place first in both the North District and the Washington state levels. Only 321 essays made it to the state level, and Macias’ essay will advance to the national level in July. The state winner receives a $500 savings bond and the national winner will receive a $1,000 savings bond. In addition to her $500 savings bond, Macias has received a $50 gift certificate to a local mall and a U.S. flag.
“Winners are selected for excellence in originality, theme development and mechanics,” said Everett Elks Americanism Chair Jeanne Olsen-Estie.
“Whether it is through her mentoring of reporters for our classroom newspaper, the writing of a letter to the editor to passionately state her case against the closing of her beloved school, or this heartfelt essay on freedom, Litzahaya’s wondrous words truly touch the soul and inspire us all,” Richard Little, Macias’ teacher at Liberty Elementary, wrote to The Marysville Globe in an e-mail.
Macias credits her teacher with helping her to improve her writing by encouraging her to enter such essay contests. It took her two weeks to write this essay, and editing it was one of the most difficult parts for her.
“It’s challenging, but I enjoy the challenge,” Macias said. “You should have challenges.”
With each draft, Macias looked to other authors for inspiration, added details and considered how best to “touch people’s hearts.” She reflected on the fact that her freedom is physically intangible, but it affords her the opportunity to voice her opinion and to turn her goals and dreams into reality. She credited the generations of Americans who have come before her with providing her with her freedom, through their struggles and sacrifices, and she promised to “do whatever it takes” to protect and promote that same freedom for future generations.
“The freedom that we share in America is the mother of all wonderful things,” Macias wrote in her essay. “My freedom that I have is a gift that I can’t hold, but will cherish and share with love.”