Good Citizenship Day Essay Contest Open to Local High School Students


Submitted by Thurston County Auditors Office

Leading up to Good Citizenship Day in January, the Thurston County Auditor’s Office invites high school students in Thurston County to submit a 300-word essay on what being a good citizen means to them.

Essays will be judged on accuracy, relevance and inspiration. Results for the winning essay and honorable mentions will be announced on Good Citizenship Day (Friday, January 13, 2017). The winner of the contest will receive a pizza party for his or her civics class, and his or her essay may be published in a future election’s local voters’ pamphlet.

“Sadly, young voters have the lowest turnout rate in elections,” said Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall. “We hope that programs like Good Citizenship Day will get young people thinking about the importance of voting and participating in the civic process.”

Last year’s essay was won by Black Hills High School student Elizabeth Hirotaka. She focused her essay on being active in one’s community, being responsible and hard-working, and voting. Her winning essay can be found in text and audio formats on the next page.

Local high school students should submit their essays to no later than midnight on Monday, January 9, 2017.

Washington State public schools recognize Good Citizenship Day every January 16 (or the preceding Friday, if January 16 falls on a weekend), and teachers prepare lessons on voting, elections, political fact checking and other citizenship-related topics. Any teacher or school administrator may download citizenship lesson plans from the Washington Secretary of State’s website:

President Franklin Roosevelt once said “Americanism is a matter of mind and heart: Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race and ancestry. A good American is one who is loyal to this country and to our creed of liberty and democracy.” When someone asks you what makes a good citizen I don’t think many people can answer it without taking time to think. Being a good citizen includes being active in your community and having the courage to have a voice.

The easiest way to exercise good citizenship is through the democratic process. Democracy is not something you sit back and let happen to you, but rather you are the one to take action. Democracy comes in many different forms from going to jury duty when you are summoned all the way to the most important thing a citizen can do, vote. Voting is something that people have fought for and earned. Voting gives us the opportunity to make a difference in the world and to influence change beyond our community. For voting is a privilege and should not be taken for granted.

From pre-school through college the professors are instructed to teach skills that will help in the future, but what they teach without even knowing is how to be responsible, respectful, honest and hard working. Essentially they are creating the next generation of good citizens.

In addition, being a good citizen means putting others first and sharing the knowledge you have to create a better society. I believe everyone should take the time to think about what being a good citizen means to them.

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