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Sydney Lowe:
2005 Winner
I.S. 227

Sydney Lowe

Winning Essay

Democracy, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is government by the People. Democracy, as defined by me, is simply freedom. And if democracy, this independent state of government, is freedom, one must examine the state of being free. Freedom means plenty on all different levels. But cast your attention to my parallel, a teenager’s opinion of freedom. Independence of expression, religion, choice of leadership all measure up to free will. As do having friends without second thought to their race, religion or sex and not having to fall victim to the perils of bigotry and sexism. This is democracy as defined by me.

It is a common link—the one between adolescents and their beloved clothes. But this “bond” is nothing short of constitution worthy. In other countries around the globe, girls must hide their bodies. They are ordered to conceal themselves. It is law. In contrast, democratized nations have no problem allowing women to wear what they please. No one would expect that wearing jeans and a T-shirt might be considered a felony in other countries. Religion is another major issue having to do with democracy.

It is wrong to rage against a person based only on their religion. This is common sense. The holocaust should be enough evidence to patronize this claim. Millions of innocent souls were lost due to the fact that they were Jewish. Democracy protects the right to practice a religion without being harassed or bothered about why or why they don’t believe in other faiths.

Democracy is our form of government. We do not live in a nation where we are told how to live our lives or where our food is rationed on a monthly basis or where children are taught that there is no God. Upon reaching the age of eighteen, we are given the hard earned right to vote for our leaders. Citizens of some other nations are never given this privilege. Others live their lives seeing the same person in power everyday, and can do nothing about it. We have the opportunity to elect who we want to lead our country into its next four years.

Democracy and prejudice have always been arch-rivals. I have the right to be friends with whosoever I choose, without thought to their race, religion, or sex. The Jim Crow laws are gone and done away with. It is not looked down upon when two different ethnicities spend time together. Women do more than housework these days. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers. One cannot imagine such a time when women were thought only to be good at home, or when they were denied the right to go to school because they were female. Our country has grown a lot since then.

In the United States of America, there is a certain sense of security that democracy provides. Children may go to school without fear. There is a sense of order that prevents the chaos that other nations choose to live with. We are protected. In a world of terrorism today, however, citizens are questioning this “protection” that has been sheltering us for centuries. Terrorist attacks have succeeded in shaking the nation to its core. But as expected, we bounced back. The wounds and scars still stand, but we have learned from our mistakes. Do not doubt the security in this country. We are all on high alert, still managing to uphold the everyday uproar and carry out familiar routines, which is more than we can say for others. Democracy puts people in control. We decide our own future.


We would like to wish Sydney Lowe the best of luck moving on to Townsend Harris High School. Congratulations!

This is supposed to be a biography; a biography written by me nonetheless. I could tell you that I’m thirteen years old living with a single mom. I could drone on and on about my four years at Louis Armstrong Middle School and my four years to come at the prestigious Townsend Harris High. I could even tell you about my wanting to be a journalist since I was eight. But instead, I think I’ll talk about my writing.

I have been writing ever since I can remember. And since reading and writing go hand in hand, it’s fair game to say that I’ve been reading all my life too. Toddlers marveled at the pictures in story books; books with magic slippers that make problems disappear, complete with the classic “happily-ever-after” bit with a warm and fuzzy moral to match. I, on the other hand, was soon past the fairy tale princess stage and was buried beneath the pages of E.D. White’s Charlotte’s Web. I was entranced by words, and their unique power to sway the reader anyway they pleased. It was then that I began to write. From that fateful day at the age of four, when I clutched a Crayola crayon and wrote in a scrawled handwriting my very first word, paper, pencil and I have been inseparable; loving every moment, loving every second of pouring my thoughts and ideas onto a single sheet of loose leaf. Now nine years later, I’m still writing. Writing my dreams, writing my thoughts and ideas. I love it.

My writing can’t be forced. It can’t be subjected to urging and pleading. I need my words to flow calmly, like a river’s stream; sweet and lustrous words smooth like milk. Inspiration must strike. My words cannot be coaxed from hiding places; they cannot be evoked from crevices deep within my skin. Writing cannot be strained or rushed or withheld. It must thrive within you. Writing isn’t just pencil meeting paper. It’s much more, so much more. Writing is my life.

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