2017 Essay Contest Winners

1st Place Elizabeth Reed, Vail Elementary

Last January, my Grams got in a bad traffic accident and broke her collarbone, knee and back.  She needed two surgeries and was in a wheelchair.  My family ended up putting a bed in the downstairs living room to help Grams recover and she lived with us for almost a year.  Grams needed help showering, walking, and using the bathroom, so Mom was really busy taking care of her, so I decided to help around the house.   I would help by making meals, doing chores, and watching over my siblings.  I learned how to make macaroni, hot dogs, eggs, and quesadillas.  At night I would even read o my siblings in bed because Mom and Dad were too tired from all the care they had to give Grams. As Victor Hugo stated, “Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.”  Initiative was important to my family last year because my initiative allowed Mommy to give her full attention to Grams while I took care of other things that needed to be done.  My personal initiative was vital to Grams’s recovery and helped my family through that difficult time.

In comparison, the friends of the sports park knew that the right thing to do for the city of Temecula was to build a family-friendly sports park for many reasons.  To begin, the volunteers of the sports park built a space for sports teams like Little League to play, instead of empty parking lots or schools.  Next, people started to hold fundraisers, such as barbeques and spaghetti dinners, to raise money to build the sports park.  Then, volunteers used personal initiative by lending their time and energy to help construct the sports park.  President Reagan, was proud of these volunteers “Can-Do spirit” and believed “personal initiative is our most precious American resource.”  As you can see, not only did I use initiative when helping around the house when Grams was hurt, the friends of the sports park used initiative to build a wonderful sports park that would change Temecula forever.


2nd Place Lincoln Xavier Herring, Alamos Elementary

The Little Town That Could

Personal Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.  This is very important for me to have because it teaches me to have because it teaches me responsibility and is a way I can do things to benefit others in many ways.   By taking personal initiative, I am working to become a mature adult and contribute to the world in a positive way.  Sometimes it is hard to do the right thing in certain situations like the time I found $20.00 on the ground in front of my neighbor’s house and could easily have kept the money to spend on something I wanted.  Instead I knocked on my neighbor’s door to return the money to its rightful owner because I knew it was the right thing to do.  It was my neighbor’s lunch money for the week that his mom had given him.  My neighbor was very happy I had returned the money and that made me feel better than anything I could have bought for myself.  Everyone having personal initiative, even in in small ways, is important for making the world a better place.

In the 1970’s the city of Temecula was still growing.  It was not the city we know today.  The people who lived here were involved in community life especially softball and little league but had no place to play and gather so they decided to work together to build a park that entire community could use.  This park became the Ronald Reagan Sports Park.  Since Temecula was still so small, there was no government in place to help build the park therefore the volunteers had to make it happen all on their own.  They worked tirelessly contacting contractors, fundraising, planting trees, and even pulling weeds and picking up trash.  Many restaurants helped to feed the hungry volunteers while they worked.   The entire community came together to help with anything and everything that needed to bed one to make the dream of a sports park reality.  President Ronald Reagan himself even recognized the hard work and determination of our community in a speech he made in 1983.

The Ronald Reagan Sports Park has provided enjoyment for our community for many years.  It symbolizes what a “Can-Do” and “I will” attitude can accomplish.  The building of Temecula’s Ronald Reagan Sports Park is a shining example of a group of citizens working together to fill a need in our community.  We can all take the American spirit of personal initiative by Ronald Reagan in both big and small ways every day to do something that helps others, our community and most importantly our world be a better place.


3rd Place Gregory Peter Kemper, Temecula Luiseno Elementary

Initiative of a Dog

The definition of initiative is a leading action.  In my family, there is my mom, my dad, and seven kids.  I am the sixth out of seven.  For a few years I have wanted a dog.   When I asked my mom and dad, they said to wait till my little brother gets older.  During the time I waited, I have read a lot about dogs.  For instance, I know I want a Golden Retriever because they have a great personality.  I have read about taking care of puppies and training them.  I have watched shows about dog training. Last year I helped my mom dog sit for a neighbor and I enjoyed it.  In addition, my parents and I went to a puppy shop and to PetSmart on a dog adoption day and I got ideas about how much they will cost and what shots they need.  My personal initiative to get a dog has been more persistent than any other member of my family, my cousins, friends, and any person I know.   So far I haven’t gotten a dog but I will keep trying to get one so that like other people in Temecula, I will be able to run an play at the park with my dog.

In order to enjoy the parks in Temecula, they first had to be built.  I have learned that back before Temecula was a city in the 1970’s, Temecula parents got together with the goal to make a park that had baseball diamonds and open spaces and paths for their kids to play.  The ‘can-do’ parents raised money from lots of different fundraisers.  They volunteered time and effort to make a giant sports park.  Their personal initiative is kind of like mine to get a dog because it was going to take a few years to happen.  A United States President complimented Temecula parents for their motivation to build the park in a speech he gave at a Los Angeles Olympic meeting.  Ronald Reagan said the people of Temecula had a ‘can-do’ attitude that should be copied by everyone.  I’m looking forward to the day when my dog and I will roam around the Ronald Reagan Sports Park because it’s motivation first, success later.