Student Essayists Propose Ways to Make a Difference

“With so much diverse information available, how can you become an informed citizen and make an impact on our nation’s political life even before you are eligible to vote?” 

After the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge (FFVF) Dallas Area Chapter asked North Texas students to tackle that question last year, Highland Park students submitted five of the six winning essays.

Here’s a sampling of their thoughts on the matter:

Reid Johnson

“Listening to different perspectives will help you gain a better understanding of political issues and help you form an informed opinion. Additionally, participating in discussions will help you develop the critical thinking skills essential to analyzing complex problems.”

Elle Pace

“Finding something to be passionate about and taking the time to research helps me become an informed citizen and can lead me to change the world for the better. To stay informed, I may also watch the news and join groups that share information regarding topics I am interested in.”

Cate Webster

“Many people think that you must be a congressman to have a political impact; all you need to do is do research and find organizations that assist with developing relations with others and educate about political issues.”

Chloe Weiss

“(F)inding unbiased sources can challenge some. An easy way to check is to find out who wrote the document and what was their intent. If it was an attempt at propaganda or convincing someone, it’s probably not the most honest piece of information.”

Zach Zelley

“Although young adults are not eligible to participate in any kind of voting for their elected officials, their word can still influence others and they can still write letters to these elected officials and persuade their views on topics.”

The other winning essayist was Kall Meador of Marrietta, Oklahoma. All six received George Washington Gold Medals in 2023. 

FFVF also awarded a medal to Rabel McNutt, a 10th grader at The Hockaday School and resident of University Park. Her honor came in the Youth Community category for her work creating the State Funerals for WWII Vets. Search for her name at to learn more about her and read an essay she wrote.

Founded in 1949, the FFVF national educational, nonpartisan nonprofit encourages the rising generation to become engaged, patriotic, informed citizens motivated by a sense of duty and responsibility to defend the freedoms that define our great nation. Visit or to learn more.

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William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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