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A Voice Among Many

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Earlier this month, five Maricopa High School students submitted their essays in the hopes of competing nationally for a $30,000 scholarship to their chosen university. The competition, aptly named the Voice of Democracy, provides students grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regards to democratic ideas and principles. One voice spoke louder than the rest. 

Cristaly Betancourt, a Junior at Maricopa High School, was declared the winner at the local level of the competition.  Her fellow competitors were Geovana Garcia, Bailee Eaton, Siena Garcia and Cailee Hall. Betancourt’s chilling essay highlights the importance of giving back to the Veterans and honoring those that have sacrificed their time, energy, and lives to protect our nation. These “titans” are the “fruitful seeds planted in our own rich history.”

Betancourt will continue competing at the District level which includes the Apache Junction, Coolidge, Casa Grande, and Chandler districts.


Read her winning essay below:


2014-2015 Voice of Democracy Contest

“Why Veterans are Important to our Nation’s History and Future”

Maricopa, AZ

Cristaly Betancourt

God has blessed America in many ways; from our unity to our independence he has allowed us

to remain strong and prosperous. He created men and women equal, yet God created a different type of

man and woman, these we call veterans. These special individuals are as strong as the titans and as

essential and patriotic as our nation’s flag. It is with great honor to stand side by side with these

remarkable heroes. Many who have been wounded in war, others that have been captured in war, and

some who have returned able to tell their unique stories.

Veterans of the past have fought for the right we have to this day and we will remember every bit

of blood that was shed, hearts that were broken and families that were split apart through war. It is

because of their efforts and sacrifices that our nation is rich in history. Days such as Memorial Day, Flag

Day, Independence Day and others are much more than barbeque on our front yards. Veterans have also

fought in other countries to defend their freedom such as the Korean War and through it they maintained

integrity and service before self. Thanks to them, the word “independence” is much more than another

word in our diverse dictionary. We often take our freedom for granted while many other countries in the

world still fight and desire such independence and freedom like ours. Veterans have consistently

defended our nation knowing that their names might not be remembered but this goes to all veterans that

have passed away through their fights and those who are still living to this day that their names will

remain engraved in our hearts and the nation’s history.

Our nation’s heroes have taken constant risks and selfless actions to protect us from tyranny as

well as to protect us as a nation and our Star Spangled banner. It is with great importance for us as

Americans, to give back to our veterans by remembering their sacrifices ever since the Revolutionary

War through the current conflicts we have in the Middle East. We often take many things for granted

and do not realize that each right we uphold were given through our veterans and constitution whom

fought vigorously for our current future that was merely just a dream to them. If we do not remember

and know why our veterans are important to our future, we will remain destined to make the same

mistakes in a never-ending cycle and our future goals as a nation will be fruitless.

Regardless of our religion, preferences, and political parties we must come together and honor

our heroes that posted our graceful flag from Battle of Bunker Hill and other battles. Through honoring

our Veterans they will be become our motivators for our future. Medal of Honor recipient Master

Sergeant Benavidez gave a powerful speech in 1991, in which demonstrated the importance of never

giving up and pursuing your dreams regardless of what your obstacles are. Veterans such as Master

Sergeant Benavidez have impacted the lives of many and truly motivate current and future generations

through their stories. The reasons are endless as to why veterans are important to our nation’s future.

They are the fruitful seeds planted in our own rich history.

44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy | Maricopa, AZ 85138 | (520) 568-5100

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