Area Students Honored at Hildene
Eighth grade students from the Shires who won awards in this year’s Hildene Lincoln Essay Competition were among the honorees at a celebratory luncheon held at Hildene on May 20. The event honored winners of the 12th annual competition from around the state, who were asked to grapple with the concept of what it means to be a patriotic American. Long Trail School student Iren Santana Hangen Vazquez and Mount Anthony Middle School student Joshua Snide were named as honorable mentions. Both chose to write about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against people of color, and both found the action to be patriotic. The concluding statements of each student’s essay sum up their research and conclusions. Iren wrote, “Their kneeling contributes to inspiring a new generation to take action and preserve the values upon which this country was founded.” Joshua reflected, “America’s uniqueness is that there are ways for its citizens to better the nation through peaceful means. Kaepernick challenges us to reexamine the status quo, make the necessary changes, thereby ensuring that our founding documents’ sentiments are upheld.”
Seth Bongartz, president of Hildene, noted that all the writers made powerful points, and addressed them by saying, “The reality of the world is that sometimes there is no exact right and no exact wrong, but we should stand up for what we believe, always with the singular goal of making the world a better place. By educating yourselves, thinking critically and carefully marshaling your arguments in writing, you have become constructively involved. You exemplify the values that guided Abraham Lincoln and that guide this competition. Lincoln clearly saw wrong and put himself on the line to right that wrong. His willingness to do so changed the world. Now it’s your turn. The world needs you to do your part.” To read the first, second and third place Hildene Lincoln Essay Competition winning essays, visit hildene.org.