Deena Hoffmann – Third Place Winner
12th Grade
Plymouth Christian High School
The Disregard of Liberty

As I walk through the halls at school, I dejectedly think about all the things I have to do. Homework is bogging me down and my lack of sleep is getting to me. Depressed and exhausted, I think of how much I hate school and how I would like to crawl in a hole and disappear. The stress and mental anguish is wreaking havoc on my mental and physical state. All of this is due to my abhorrence of school, the homework, the atmosphere, and the people. Everything is too difficult and there is not a single drop of motivation in my body. My life is miserable.

A little over six thousand miles away, one hundred and twenty students are huddled together in a damp dark cave (Engel). Their ears are straining to catch every word of the teacher, soaking in as much knowledge as possible. These truly depressing conditions are something they are more than willing to face in order to receive an education. The fact that their previous school building was decimated due to airstrikes does nothing to dampen their eagerness for learning (Engel). This is the normalcy for children and teachers in the rebel-controlled village of Tramla, in Idlib province, Syria (Engel). The same is true for every ISIS territory (Engel). Their lives are miserable. Yet, something is very different here. They love school.

This difference is staggering. Why do I have it so easy? The simple answer is liberty. Soldiers are sacrificing their lives for this country. Due to this shedding of blood, I have liberty. Liberty to go to extremely nice schools with no thought of bombs falling on me. Liberty to have excellent teachers who care about my progress. There is not a constant fear of teachers being executed by ISIS because they do not conform to the terrorists’ curriculum (Engel). Liberty to have an amazing curriculum. Liberty to have one of the best possible educations around. I do not worry about my high school diploma being a matter of life and death. It is so simple and safe for me.

Perhaps the most perplexing question is, why do I have it so easy, am so ungrateful, and hate school so much? This is something most American high schoolers feel. We complain and react poorly toward school. This is terrible and horrible due to the fact that we take our liberty for granted. We do not realize how good we have it. We are so very blessed, yet we just treat school as a burden. We should be eternally thankful for this invaluable gift we receive daily. We should show our appreciation instead of showing our bad view toward school. We, as high school students, need to see how privileged we are, and react appropriately. This liberty came at the highest price possible. The payment of human blood. Many soldiers gave their education to give us our amazing school system. All gave some, some gave all. We need to thank our veterans for everything they have done for us. Not just for our education, but also for all of our liberties. Most importantly, we need to stop complaining and just be overly thankful for the liberty we have been blessed with. Not everyone in this world is so fortunate. Realize this liberty is not free. Treat it with the proper respect it is worthy of God bless America.

Works Cited
Engel, Pamela. “Here’s What It’s like for Children to Attend School in War-torn Syria.” Business Insider. Business Insider, 09 July 2016. Web. 09 Feb. 2017. <>

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