Essay one of best in America

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Courtesy photo Avery Scott Fudge, 12, will be honored Friday at a dinner at the Coeur d’Alene Elks Lodge No. 1254 for winning third place in a national essay contest.

Why Is It Important to Vote?

Avery Scott-Fudge

In the summer of 1776, fifty-six Americans gathered in Philadelphia to declare independence from the English Crown. The reason this group of patriots felt the need for independence was because they didn’t have representation in the government. They didn’t have a say in who was governing them, or in how they were being governed. They wanted to establish a new government, a democracy, in which people get to choose their representatives. The process by which those representatives are chosen is voting.

Voting is the thing that gives you a voice in the government. It lets you have a say in what our government officials are like, their beliefs, their views, and what they do intend to do in office. There is no guarantee that the person we want representing us will win the election. Nor is there any guarantee that our chosen representatives will do exactly what we want. The nice part about our system is if we don’t like the job someone is doing we have the freedom to vote for someone else in the next election. We always have the freedom to at least try and shape the government into what we want it to be, but only if we vote.

The right to vote is the core of our democracy. The right to vote is what makes us Americans. To ignore that right by choosing not to vote is to ignore the American spirit itself, and that is why it is important to vote.

North Idaho has a new national award-winner in its ranks.

Avery Scott Fudge, 12, a seventh-grader at Lakeland Junior High School, placed third in the nation in the Elks’ Americanism Essay Contest.

He decided to enter during the last school year, when he was in sixth grade, after reading about the national competition on a flyer on a classroom bulletin board.

The challenge was to write an essay about “Why is it important to vote?”

“When I wrote it, I liked it and was confident with it, but, you know, the odds are kind of slim that you’re going to win something with all these people competing,” Avery said.

Thousands of essays were submitted to the 1,900 local Elks lodges across the country. Committees at each lodge then sent their top three essays from two divisions to the state lodge. From there, each state had a specific number of essays that could be submitted nationally, based on the size of the state. Idaho was able to submit just its top two entries.

“We had 42 submissions to our lodge,” explained Debbie Nadrchal, the committee chairperson in Coeur d’Alene. “The committee looks at how the subject is addressed, grammar and spelling and word count, which was 300 words maximum.”

Avery, who hopes to someday attend Stanford University to study engineering and go on to design rides for Disney, explained his approach to the topic of the importance of voting.

“I noted that it is important to vote simply because if nobody votes then the election process won’t go very well, and if you don’t vote, you’re kind of ignoring the American spirit itself,” he said. “When our Founding Fathers set up the system, they intended for all Americans to vote so everybody has a voice so we can have someone in office that can represent our diverse group of people.”

Nadrchal called Avery with the exciting news that he had won.

“When I found out I felt really excited... ecstatic. It was a really cool experience, because the odds weren’t that good.” he explained.

Avery’s dad, Adam Fudge, was beaming.

“I’m super proud of him,” he said. “After I read his essay I was just so thrilled with the approach that he took, and I thought it was so cool, and to see that nowadays was really great. I was really happy for him.”

Avery will be the guest of honor at a dinner at the Coeur d’Alene Elks Lodge this Friday at 5 p.m., along with his family, teacher, principal, Lakeland’s superintendent and the Idaho State Elks President, Dave McFarland. Avery will receive a plaque, prize money to go toward his education, and a special surprise for his family. A ham dinner will be served and the community is welcome to attend.

“We would love for people to come out to congratulate this young man, because this is a huge honor for him. Out of 1,900 lodges and thousands and thousands of essays that are submitted each year for him to place third in the nation from Idaho is fantastic,” Nadrchal said.

Cost for the dinner is $10 per person, and those interested should RSVP to the lodge at 208-772-4049. The CDA Elks is located at 1170 W. Prairie Ave.

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