Steven Jiang – Winner, Best Essay

I am Steven Jiang, an 8th grader at Whitney Young Academic Center in Chicago, IL. I have many hobbies, including drawing, playing soccer, and learning new things. Usually, in my spare time, I browse through online courses to learn subjects such as biology, computer programming, and world history. Each month, I try to focus on a particular area to learn more about.

At school, I participate in many extracurricular activities including Math Team, Science Olympiad, Business Professionals of America, the school newspaper, and more. I also enjoy running on both the cross country and track teams for Whitney Young, and I especially enjoy the 1.5 mile and 800m events.

My interest in the humanities, particularly US history, began when I memorized all the Presidents in third grade. Since then, I have participated twice in National History Day, becoming a National Finalist one year and placing first place nationally last year. In addition, I was a semi-finalist in the National History Bee.

To me, analytical writing is a very meticulous process that requires extensive thought beforehand. I only choose to write about topics that are complex and open to debate. In light of recent world events and my own research into the subject, I feel like I have a lot to express regarding the role of our political system in society.

I would like to thank Constituting America for giving me this unique opportunity and for promoting civic education in schools across America.

Click here to read Steven’s Winning Essay!

Our Interview With Steven

Was this the first time you entered the contest?

How did you hear about the contest?
I discovered the Constituting America website while conducting research on the US Constitution.

What inspired your work?
In light of the current global political climate, I feel like the Constitution is more and more relevant with each passing day. I often keep this in mind when I learn about current events.

What did you learn while creating your entry?
I learned about the importance of peaceful transitions of power from one leader to the next.

How do you plan to spread the word this year to your peers about the importance of the U.S Constitution?
I look forward to having conversations with people about political events that directly influence our lives. Of course, history shapes the present, so we are constantly reminded to dig deeper and discover root causes.

How do your friends respond to history or talking about the Constitution?
I am friends with people who share the interests of following current political events, especially during elections, and discussing their impact on society.

What do you love about U.S History and the forming of our government?
Although the Founding Fathers had their flaws, the system that they established has prevailed through the test of time. The balance of power within society facilitates peace and stability. The freedoms outlined in the Constitution allowed for grassroots change throughout US history. What is fascinating about US history is that it is a complex and multi-faceted story with many distinct narratives from different groups of people.

Which U.S. historical site would you like to visit?
I would like to visit Ellis Island and Angel Island, the entry checkpoints for immigrants that arrived in the US throughout many decades. These historic sites represent hope and progress for immigrants that were seeking the ideals of the American Dream.

Which American historical figure is most influential/inspirational to you?
President Jimmy Carter exemplified what it meant to be an honest and hardworking leader. Despite the economic decline and hardships during his term, he worked hard for the people of America. Even during the Iran Hostage Crisis, he negotiated tirelessly while taking full responsibility. He was also an early advocate for renewable energy. Following his term, Carter has been influential in his diplomatic and charity work throughout the globe, and serves as a role model for all Americans.

Who is your greatest role model?
My parents are my greatest role models.

What in your life are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about learning something new and making the most out of each day.

How do you spend your free time?
In my free time, I enjoy reading, drawing, running, watching soccer, and learning new things.

What are your plans for the future?
I have not decided on a specific career path yet, but I will try to have a well-rounded high school experience and pursue as many interests as possible.

If you could do one super impactful thing to help people, what would it be?
I would raise money to help fund technology for education in schools, especially for underprivileged children, so that they can be prepared for success.

Why is the Constitution relevant today?
The Constitution defines the relationship between society and its government, as well as the individual and the collective. What is profound about the Constitution is that it is not a stagnant document; rather, it evolves with social progress through amendments and varying interpretations through the court system. These debates will always continue and contribute to a healthy democracy.

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