By Christopher Smith
Christine Tran was initially speechless when she was announced the winner of the local Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Good Citizens contest Thursday afternoon. Then she saw her mother Cindy Ly crying in the crowd.
“She has just done so much for me,” Tran said, between her own tears. “She has sacrificed so much. She is the one I try to be like every day.”
Tran, a Northwest Whitfield High School senior, was elected by the school’s student body for nomination and chosen out of eight seniors from all area high schools as the winner by a panel of Dalton State College professors.
“I’m just so surprised,” Tran said. “I did not expect this. This is amazing.”
Tran’s essay, “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It,” talked about the responsibility of citizens in a democracy. She was given two hours to write it in front of a DAR or Dalton State official.
“Much can be done to preserve the foundations of democracy that the founding fathers so carefully crafted,” part of Tran’s winning essay reads. “The common man is able to participate in both local and national elections to choose his or her representative. They can also serve on jury duty to have a voice in controversial decisions and have confidence that they will not be persecuted for their beliefs.
“These are ways to never lose touch with democracy and the freedoms we possess. If these values are not actively used or emphasized, we run the risk of losing what generations have given up their lives to fight for.”
A second essay was read at the ceremony, detailing Tran’s relationship with her mother.
“(Her) dependability, service, leadership and patriotism are infectious qualities that I fell victim to and I hope to one day be able to pass on to someone else,” that essay read. “These qualities not only make us good citizens, but also give hope for the betterment of society”
“She kept our family going through hard times,” Tran said. “She followed where the jobs were. We started in California and moved to Kansas and now we ended up in Georgia. My mom has always helped me and sacrificed for me to get me where I am.”
Terri Sutton, the Northwest Whitfield teacher who submitted Tran’s winning essay on her behalf, thought it was “fabulous.”
“When Christine finished her essay and sent it to me and I read it I knew that there was not any better submission than hers,” Sutton said. “It was an amazing essay.”
Tran’s essay will be submitted to a district competition later this year. She plans to attend the University of Georgia and major in biology.
Other finalists were Michael McKinney from Christian Heritage School, Jordan Tant from Coahulla Creek High School, David Torres from Dalton High School, Willy Armador from Murray County High School, Hannah Porter from North Murray High School, Cody Sharpe from the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy and Mikayla Defore from Southeast Whitfield High School.