Rodgers, a fifth grader at Acton Elementary School, was pronounced the winner
of a Memorial Day essay contest during a community celebration on May 29, 2017.
was initiated by J.C. Campbell, a veteran and community leader who felt it was
important for students to commemorate armed services personnel who have died in
service to the nation.
program objective for the fifth grade competition states, “Many students think
Memorial Day is simply a day to ‘celebrate’ a day off from school. They don’t realize it is instead a day to
‘commemorate’ or remember those who have lost their lives in all American Wars. The objective of this contest is to help
students understand the true meaning of this day.”
text of Rodgers’s essay entitled “What Memorial Day Means to Me” was:
While deployed in May of 2003, my dad’s convoy ran over
an IED. The explosion hit the lead
Humvee and killed all four soldiers in it, including the first lieutenant who
was fresh out of college on his first deployment. This story of lost lives is just one among
thousands and thousands.
Memorial Day is a day to honor the people that have
fallen serving our country, like the lieutenant who was only 24 years old. He was a leader and an inspiration to many
because he stepped up to defend the country.
To me, this a real, true hero.
There has been a lot of people that fought for our nation and they are
also heroes. I’m very thankful for
people like this so we have freedom and can do stuff we enjoy, especially the
many, everyday things we take for granted, like going to school and having the
right to vote.
Most people think Memorial Day is a day of no school
and to cookout with family, but to me it’s much more than that. I come from a military family, and while they
sacrificed, there are those who gave much more.
They gave everything. On Memorial
Day I think of those who gave their lives.
This day is one to remember the people who died for us to be free,
because they are the reason we are.
To celebrate this meaningful day we invite friends
over, swim, and cookout. Later, we
usually go on the boat with another family to tube and swim. But while we do all of this fun stuff, in my
mind I think about what Memorial Day really means…which is sacrifice, honor,
Rodgers was one of five Granbury ISD campus winners vying for the top prize. Others were:
Owen Aramburu, Oak Woods School; Sarah Boyd, Baccus Elementary School; Silas
Hughes, Mambrino School; Brasen Moore, Brawner Intermediate School.
contest followed state curriculum guidelines regarding fifth grade citizenship,
which specifies that students understand “important symbols, customs,
celebrations, and landmarks that represent American beliefs and principles and
contribute to our national identity” and “describe the origins and significance
of national celebrations such as Memorial Day.”