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Kimberly Situ:
2005 Winner
P.S. 122

Kimberly Situ

Winning Essay

There are many types of government in the world. We, in America, have chosen Democracy as our form of government.” America is thought of as the land of opportunities. Our nation is composed of members of all types of ethnic backgrounds. What makes this land so admired? What inspired so many immigrants in the past and present as well to leave what they know behind for this country? Back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, political and religious freedoms were some pull factors attracting many immigrants. It was our form of government that made these existences possible in America. However, what is democracy really? Is it just a type of government? Does it not also imply how we as citizens contribute to the creation of such a prosperous nation? We need to participate in our government and respect its authority as well as understand how we have a part in it. As an American citizen, I have personal thoughts and feelings about this country.

Democracy. How would one place that into a crossword puzzle? Across. 9-letter word for a type of government. That’s not nearly enough to show what democracy really is. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinions but shouldn’t the basis of the American life be depicted as something more than just “a type of government?” In my eyes, I see democracy as a way for American citizens to express their ideas. I believe that it enables us to make a choice, gives us a voice, and provides us with the power to govern ourselves through an individual of our selection. In a democracy, the people are given a chance to make a decision. They choose for themselves who they want to empower as their leaders in various offices. They get to vote.

In a democracy, citizens have responsibilities. Without the fulfillment of these responsibilities, the democracy would not be able to exist. One of these responsibilities is participation. A major duty of citizens in a democracy is to contribute in the form of government they are given. The citizens must take it into their own hands to make sure they vote. The voter turnout was highest during the Gilded Age (1870’s-1890’s), almost 80 percent and it has never been as high since then. Obviously this responsibility has been somewhat neglected. If eligible voters do not grasp the opportunity to participate in their democracy, they are throwing away one of the precious rights many fought so hard to earn.

In addition, respecting the opinions and ideas of others is another responsibility citizens in a democracy have. Because we are all different, certainly we’ll all have different thoughts and beliefs. One of the beauties of America is that we are free to have these opinions and will not be punished for the way we think religiously or politically. The whole point to voting is to be able to express one’s opinion on who would be the most suitable leader. Therefore, in order to be fair, we all must accept any differences in these beliefs. If not, democracy would not be able to exist orderly and efficiently in America or anywhere else for that matter.

Not only is it vital to be able to respect one another in a democracy, it is important that citizens are able to tolerate and recognize whoever is elected as an end result. Not everything in life happens the way we want it to. Sometimes, a candidate we have voted for in a democracy will not be who is elected into office. However, simply because it was not who someone personally felt was the most qualified candidate to fulfill the position, citizens must be able to peacefully accept whatever outcome may occur. It is necessary to abide by and adhere to the rules set before us. If this responsibility cannot be carried out, there would be no control amongst us. Some might feel a need to rebel but it is vital everyone understands that sometimes things don’t turn out the way we anticipate. We have the duty of just dealing with it.

Understanding that there are responsibilities is a chief moral obligation citizens possess in a democracy. No one can truly expect all things in life to be handed to them on a silver platter. Recognizing that there are things us citizens are held accountable for and then fulfilling these tasks is significant to making a democracy work. In order for our government to function properly, we must all work together. Since a democracy is largely dependent upon the citizens, they must be aware of that. They must know that they have a part in the government and in the process of governing of their country.

As an American citizen, I can say that I am proud and happy. In America, I feel that I have many opportunities and freedoms that I would not have in other countries. I am very grateful that my parents immigrated here because in this country, I have been able to get an excellent education so far and have been able to start building up my life in order to achieve a great career. In addition, as an American citizen I do not have to face as many setbacks as I would probably have had to face in my parents’ home country, China. Since I am a second born child, my opportunities would be limited in China due to overpopulation. However, that is not the situation here. I have the same chances to succeed as my older sister does like President Roosevelt’s Square Deal in 1904, ensuring that farmers and consumers as well as workers and owners would all possess the same possibilities of becoming successful in life.

The interaction of people of different ethnic backgrounds is very high in America as well. I am able to be exposed to people from all over the world and as a result, I have learned how to accept others and not judge anyone because they are different in any way. We are all human and therefore we are all equal. I am also proud to be an American citizen because this is a country that has changed and developed in many ways, like growing out of slavery and stopping exclusions of specific ethnic groups from immigrating into the United States. The United States of America has undergone quite a few wars yet is still able to stand strong and keep serving as a role model for other countries too. American history is very intriguing and it is obvious that Americans have evolved in their morals and have grown to produce the great nation we see before us today. I am pleased to be able to call myself an American citizen because America is truly a wonderful country. I hope that America will be proud to have me as a citizen as well.

Democracy is beyond doubt a fabulous thing. The way it molds together the way we function and live is amazing. Government itself is fascinating because it is what keeps us together and helps us to lead the lives we have. Without government, there would be no true authority. I am thankful that in America democracy is our form of government. I am a citizen and I understand that we have responsibilities and loyalties to our country. Hopefully in the future, the United States of America will be as strong as it is today if not stronger. I believe that America will serve as an example of a land of opportunities for many years to come.


We would like to wish Kimberly Situ the best of luck moving on to Bronx High School of Science. Congratulations!

I am Kimberly Situ and I am currently an eighth grade student in P.S. 122. Next year I will be attending the Bronx High School of Science. I highly enjoy going to school each day because I am learning while being surrounded by friends. Every year my goals include spending as much time as I possibly can with my friends and family as well as achieving my full potential in all subject areas. In my free time I love to read or talk to my friends.

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