Elise Esparza, Winner, Best Poem

Elise Esparza is a 10 year old fifth grader from Reagan Elementary in Cedar Park, Texas. She loves to write, draw, dance, swim, and ride her bike. Elise’s love for writing was passed down from her late grandmother, Nam Kỳ Cô Nương, who was a prolific Vietnamese poet. Though Elise resides in Texas, she typically spends her summers in Los Angeles, California, where she was born. In addition to her creative and athletic endeavors, Elise likes to cook (and eat!). She started a cooking channel on YouTube when she was 6 years old called “Baking with Elise.” Elise is extremely excited and honored to be the Best Poem winner for 2020. She knows that her grandmother would be proud of her.

Click here or scroll down to read Elise’s Winning Poem

We the People

Without the Constitution
We’d be lost
With no rules and no order
It’d be pure chaos
Not one, not two, but three branches of government
Ensure that “We the People”
Are the boss

The legislative branch makes the laws
And the executive branch carries them out
But the judicial branch interprets the laws
And can say, “Hey! That’s not what the Constitution is about!”

It’s a system of checks and balances
And it’s the highest law of the land
The U.S. Constitution of America
Meant to protect every child, woman, and man

Our Interview With Elise

Was this the first time you entered the contest?
Yes!

How did you hear about the contest?
Through Gabriella Tommasi, who is a past winner and youth ambassador.

What inspired your work?
I watched old episodes of “Schoolhouse Rock!” I liked how the “Schoolhouse Rock!” videos explained government procedures in a way that was understandable to kids. I wanted to do the same with my poem.

What did you learn while creating your entry?
I learned the true meaning of the Constitution being the “highest law of the land.” I found this fascinating, that a historical document, a piece of paper, written hundreds of years ago, is what all citizens of America must obey.

How do you plan to spread the word this year to your peers about the importance of the U.S Constitution?
My school announced my win over the morning announcements. My classmates were very excited for me. I will encourage more of my friends and classmates to enter Constituting America’s next contest.

How do your friends respond to history or talking about the Constitution?
I think my friends talk about issues that they hear in their house–issues like racism, gun control, and immigration. However, I don’t think kids realize that these are all constitutional issues.

What do you love about U.S. History and the forming of our government?
I like that our government is for the people, and that even though the Constitution is the highest law of the land, “we the people” can change the Constitution to fit the needs of our current times.

Which U.S. historical site would you like to visit?
I would like to visit the White House in Washington, D.C. Then I would like to visit Niagara Falls. This is the exact trip my mom took when she was a child.

Which American historical figure is most influential/inspirational to you?
I recently saw the movie, “The Miracle Worker.” Both Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller were able to accomplish so much because of education and determination, and because they had each other.

Who is your greatest role model?
My late grandmother, who was also a poet, is my greatest role model. She always had a fresh and intelligent perspective on things. You could never win an argument against her. I get my flair for winning arguments from her.

What in your life are you most passionate about?
What’s most important to me is that people are healthy, and are free to live a peaceful life. I would also like to find a way to fight cancer.

How do you spend your free time?
I like to swim, draw, write, ride my bike, play video games, and cook!

What are your plans for the future?
I want to be a lawyer, because I like writing and winning arguments!

If you could do one super impactful thing to help people, what would it be?
I try to be kind to the environment. I recycle, I pick up trash, and I do not use a lot of plastic. A stable planet is the basis for everything, including the Constitution!

Why is the Constitution relevant today?
The need to have rules and order are important as long as people want to live together in a society.

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