On Sunday, October 11, 11-year-old, Paul Ferrara was acknowledged as the second place winner of the Americanism Essay contest and presented with a check for $250 at the Elks Club. Ferrara, a sixth grader at the middle school, completed the essay while he was in fifth grade at the ATC School, and was one out of one hundred statewide contestants who wrote the 300-word essay on the theme, “What Freedom of Speech Means to Me.”
In his thoughtful speech, Ferrara made comparisons of how freedom of speech impacts his life. The avid sports fan, baseball player, and sailor shared an example of how he wears team colors to show support for his favorite teams as a way of expressing himself.
The AMVETS Americanism Program is a patriotic program that serves as a resource for teaching children in kindergarten through 12th grade about their American heritage, civ-ics and citizenship. The program includes flag drawings, poster and essay contests that are grade specific and age appropriate. They may attend public, private, parochial schools or may be home schooled. Participants may also come through any youth group such as Scouting or from Church Sunday schools.
The following is Paul’s essay:
What Freedom of Speech means to me
By Paul Ferrara
Freedom of Speech means to me getting to say my opinion without the government stopping me or the government telling me what to say, believe, and do.
I’m a sports guy and Freedom of Speech allows me to go to a game and cheer on my favorite team and allow me to wear my favorite team colors to show my support.
Another example is it also allows me to say on websites that I can dislike something or like something for example. I would say McDonalds food is good. But because of Freedom of Speech, my mom would say McDonalds food is bad for you.
The importance of Freedom of Speech is bringing attention to cause or a problem that needs attention. For example the wildfires out west. Freedom of Speech allows people to get the word out about fire safety through the media. Freedom of Speech can help get the word out about health dangers like smoking, vaping and chewing tobacco. I learned from school and tv commercials about the dangers of these products.
You should not abuse Freedom of Speech. You can not use it to attack anyone or use in a harmful way to hurt anyone. For example using bad language to abuse someone. A second example could be to not lie or to scare anyone in a group or in a crowded place like yell fire!
In conclusion this is what Freedom of Speech means to me to use it in a good way but not to take advantage and use it wisely and take care of it its not free because other people have been fighting for our freedom and our Freedom of Speech and have lost their lives doing this.