Each Spring from 2010 to 2010 the Frankfort Township Republican Organization offered a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior at Lincoln-Way East High School and at Lincoln-Way Central.

In order to qualify for the scholarship, the applicant must be a resident of Frankfort Township and be accepted into an accredited trade school, college or university by the Fall of his graduation year.  The topic of the essay was up to the student. Typical topics were as follows: Discuss the viability of the free enterprise system in the U.S. and how to foster individual initiative.  How is the the Republican Party the best medium to transform positive principles of government into action.  How can citizens ensure that local, state and national governments practice sound fiscal principles. What safeguards can best protect the dignity, responsibility and freedom of individuals. How can citizens ensure that national strength and pride be maintained.  Is the best form of government that which governs least? Who is your political role model and how do you see this person's attributes influencing your future? What ideas would you submit to either the Frankfort Township Supervisor, Will County Board Chairman,  the Illinois Governor, or the U.S. President.  How will you strive to improve the world.  Why is it important to be a registered voter and how should one exercise their right to vote.

The winning scholarship applicants were determined by a panel of Committeemen based upon the applicant's essay, application, grade point average/ class rank and financial need.  

The FTRO was proud to advance these scholarship opportunities to local high school students, and to promote a better community and government by providing further education to our own upcoming graduates.  Please enjoy reading all the winning essays below.

Brandon Brannigan award winning 2019 essay from Lincoln-Way Central

Why Voting Matters

         The United States is seen as the greatest country in the world because of our endless hope, opportunity, in battle for what is right. The democracy which the citizens of The United States uphold is a government of the people, by the people, for the people according to the 16th president Abraham Lincoln.  This democracy upheld by the Republican Party is the backbone to the greatness of our country because it allows all citizens an equal and fair vote.  Although some people may wrongly disagree, my vote matters because of the power it holds.  Every single citizen's vote is their personal say in the government, the power they have been granted to ensure our country stays on a just  and noble path.

          One of the reasons my vote matters is all the history and work it took in order to be able to have the opportunity to vote.  Starting in the 1776 our forefathers retaliated against their unfair governmental institutions in hope for a better future for those to succeed them.  They were willing to lie down their lives for a newborn country that they felt gave them a better life.  Our vote matters because we owe it to our soldiers, the men and women who every day risk their lives to allow citizens of the United States to be able to cast our vote and make it count.

         Another reason our vote counts is to ensure the noble and righteous future of our country; to further the empowerment of others by putting the right people in office.  The bigger the voter turnout and the better decisions we can make together as a community, state, and country to keep the tradition of our magnificent Republican ideals.  Our vote matters to the poor, the needy, and those who cannot vote.  Our votes do not only affect ourselves, our votes effect those around us in our community.  My vote is important because it has the power to change another person's life.  My vote can affect someone I have never met, or even those my family. 

         My vote matters because it is my duty, along with all the citizens of America, to keep our government in check.  Without our democracy allowing each citizen over eighteen to vote, our government would have uncontrolled power.  This power going uncontrolled would not end well as we've seen in the past with monarchies and authoritarian styles of government.  It all starts at the local level, where your vote has the most power.  People can put honorable citizens in power.  These elected officials then can allow greater change at the next level, escalating into a great change in the larger branches of our government to support changes for the people, by the people.

         We are lucky to be able live in a country where we can say my vote manners, because there are many people in the world who pray someday that they will be able to say the same sentence.  Our votes are a great power and with that we should recognize the great responsibility each individual has in our beloved country to uphold the moral standards of our government, ensure the government remains a strong democracy, and honor those who have fought and will continue to fight so hard for our right to vote.  We as Americans need to ensure that our government is of the people, by the people, and for the people and it all starts with one vote, my vote.  This is why my vote matters.

Connor Wrigley's winning 2019 essay from Lincoln-Way East

        The year is 2019.  As predicted by Scientist, Thinkers, Historians, and Intellectuals spanning the globe, the human race should be airborne; vehicle should be weaving in-and-out between skyscrapers; mankind should be hovering above their boring past in jet packs; and spacecraft should be transporting people, at the speed of light, to the nearest system in space.  The year is 2019.  The United States of America, the stronghold of Western Society, is in a fractured state—with the future looking rather bleak.  Internationally, the Middle-East is still involved in an external quarrel, with no apparent means to an end.   However, there is one over arching problem, affecting every country, which I would like to briefly focus on: immigration.

        Currently, in late January, 2019, President Donald J. Trump—in a few feud with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer—is in a stalemate with the Democrats.   With a partial government shutdown, federal employees have not seen paychecks in weeks. Why?  Both sides of the aisle cannot come to an agreement over securing funding for a border wall/security on the nation’s southern border.   According to Pew Research, in 2016, there was approximate 10.7 million illegal immigrants in U.S.,totaling 3.3% of the entire population.  The majority of these people have resided here for decades.  In 2018, according to , Border Patrol apprehended roughly 400,000 people on our Southwest border. From Mexico down to the countries in South America, hundreds of thousands of people make the journey to enter America—illegally.  It is against the federal law.  In section 1325 in Title 8 of the US Code, improper entry—attempting to enter the America without permission—is punishable by either a fine, imprisonment, or deportation.  Illegal immigrants, made up of Central Americans, Mexicans, Europeans, and more, may overstay their visas and remain in the country unlawfully.

       There are two main concerns and mind when discussing illegal immigration: who is entering the country, and how much will it cost? As much as is a social problem, it's an economic problem.  As published by NBC “the cost of undocumented immigrants—the cost of services received minus their tax contributions—was about $54 billion”,  This was the 2013 estimate, and even if President Trump was incorrect with his “$200 billion per year estimate” the taxpayer is, regardless, footing a hefty bill.  Socially, illegal immigration is a major hazard to American citizens.  Legal immigration involves a vetting process—strict or not—that screens individuals wanting citizenship.  This is proper, legal entrance into America.  This is how to become an American.  Culture and individual characteristics put traditional Americans at risk.  Immigrants with very radical beliefs and attitudes fail to assimilate into Western Society, resulting in members of certain groups lashing out in often violent, unsolicited ways—as seen in Countries like Sweden and Germany.  It would be time-wasting to elaborate upon the benefits of legal immigration, as it is quite overstated already.   Immigration, legal immigration is a must.     

        Societies and countries depend upon influx of people for diversification in thought, a rising population, and labor.   With legal immigration and thorough background checks, the topic of immigration does not have to dominate the country’s current conversation.   Illegal immigration is unlawful, and that should be enough reason to stop it by any reasonable means necessary.

Timothy Magee winning 2018 essay from Lincoln-Way East
     America is arguably the freest country in the world. The very idea of America was envisioned on the premise of personal liberty and freedom from a tyrannical government. 

     It was the idea of freedom that led patriots to, revolt against the British. It was the idea of personal liberty that shaped the Constitution. Because the founding fathers knew that when government given too much power it will inevitably become corrupt and oppressive, they wrote, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to limit the power of government and protect the personal freedoms’ of the citizens of the United States. When looking at the issue of gun control, we need only look at history and the Constitution to know that the right to bear arms is essential to a free society. 

     In the time leading up to the American Revolution the British government took many actions to try to suppress the colonists' freedoms.  One of the lesser-known acts was the attempt to disarm the colonists.  Because of this the colonists were fighting the revolution with illegal firearms.  If the British army was successful in disarming the colonists, the American Revolution would have never occurred because the colonists would have been defenseless. Without the access to firearms, the colonists would have continued to live under oppressive British rule and America would not exist today.  Because the founding fathers knew that without firearms they could not have won a revolution, they wrote the Second Amendment so that future Americans would have a way to protect themselves from tyrannical government. When the Second Amendment is infringed upon in any way, the government is given more opportunity to grow and enforce its will on American citizens. 

     While an oppressive American government is hard to imagine, it is something that the American people should always be mindful of.  In the past one hundred years many oppressive regimes have come to power. Some are still in power today while others have fallen into history. Despite the different ways each regime came to power and ruled, all seem to have one thing in common, the disarming of its citizens.  Whether it was the USSR, Cuba, Nazi Germany, or one of the many other oppressive governments in recent history, they all have taken away the rights of citizens to use a firearm to defend themselves.  Many citizens living in those countries at the time may not have expected that they would one day need to protect themselves from their government, which is exactly why it is vital that Americans' right to bear arms is not taken away. 

     When most of the media today portray guns as dangerous weapons that have no productive use, it is imperative that Republicans strongly defend the right to bear arms.  I know I will spend my life fighting to preserve the Second Amendment and educate all Americans on the necessity of the Second Amendment. By preserving the Second Amendment, we ensure that America will remain the freest country in the world. 

Robert Tervin winning 2018 essay from Lincoln Way Central:
     It is time to make “America Great Again!" That quote has been said many times by our 45th president Donald J. Trump. But what does that mean?  It is quite simple.  Making America Great Again, is going back to how our founding fathers wanted this country to be.  In the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, it states," We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.  What does created equal mean? What it means, is that God, who has given us an undeserving opportunity to live on this earth and abide by his rules, has made us all unique. 

     That is something that Washington, Adams, and Jefferson all understood. What are Unalienable rights? Unalienable rights, are rights, that because you are a citizen, are given to you at birth. The first right, is Life. The right of Life, means that you are able to be your own person. Not, a part of the state, but your own personal life. You have the freedom to be your own, self and you are not owned by anyone. The second right, is Liberty. The right of Liberty, means that you are able to live the way you want and how you want. You are given the power of free will and that is a very monumental right. The third and final right, is the Pursuit of Happiness. This right to me is the most important one. The fact that I am free to do what I want is a right that I would never take for granted any day of my life. I can only thank the Military for its wonderful service of keeping us safe and allowing us to practice these rights every day of our lives. 

     Why am I a Republican?  My Grandfather, Raymond Frederick Schnell, worked in politics as much as he possibly could his whole life. Now, in the Blue State of Illinois , it is very rare to be a Republican in any form of government. Something I really admired about my Grandpa, is that he fought for what he believed in. There could be 49 people on the other side of an argument and my Grandpa would not be ashamed or afraid to tell them his point of view. He has made the most influence on me being a Republican. The second reason is because I live in the Greatest Country, that God has ever created. I am proud to be an American every day of my life. It is a privilege and a right for me to stand for the national anthem and support our troops and veterans who have and are still fighting to make this country a better and safe place for all of us. There is nowhere like America.  I am honored to call myself a Republican, but more importantly, I am proud to call myself an American.

     Thank you for giving me the opportunity to apply for this scholarship.  One of the first things I did when I was 18 was to register to vote.  I did this so I can make a difference in this world.  It is my right and privilege to do so.  I am grateful to be an American.

Mary Gorski's winning 2017 essay from Lincoln-Way East:

"How can you be a feminist and a Republican?" my classmate sneers. It's the beginning of second semester, Junior Year, and my first day of Government has begun with a discussion about modern political systems. I was sharing my views in an open forum and being attacked. Still, it made me think. An attack on your beliefs can make you wonder if you really believe the right thing. So I considered my philosophy. I spent the upcoming presidential election pondering both sides. And my conclusion? How could I be a feminist, and NOT a Republican?

Upon closer examination of the Republican party, we find American Conservatism. Every conservative value has its roots in Judeo-Christian culture. In honesty, the only prospering developed nations have a foundation in these values as well. Even secular developed countries have cultures that were incredibly impacted by Christianity. Alternatively, we can find countries formed by Secularism, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism. In these countries, women have no suffrage, no education, and are treated as a number, rather than a person- a mindless cog in that country's clock. When people are treated as tools in a machine, the machine breaks. The clocks of these countries are broken, they don't ring the same hour as their modern neighbors.

In a Judeo-Christian society, all people are considered to have the same level of irrevocable dignity. This particular aspect doesn't necessarily have an impact on government, but its ramifications do. In a culture where all are treated with the dignity they deserve, people prosper. Appreciation for all lives allows for a society where all men are created equal. Every person is given the same chance, and their destiny is made not by bureaucrats, but by their own decisions; the fruit of your labors may be harvested, undiminished by excessive taxes and unhindered by an overreaching government forcing a decision upon you. Should you desire to become a lawyer, it is your right to pursue that path and keep the money your work brings. This is not only the best way to live for individuals, but the best way for a country to function. Freedom of choice, founded in the belief that people can control their lives, is ideal for everyone. When everyone in a society is given the same opportunities, competition presents itself and separates the driven from the coasters. When I get something, I want to know that I've earned it. This mentality (and Conservative view) promotes responsibility, hard work, and a healthy self-esteem. What I reap, I have sewn. Regardless of my background, I should get a fair chance. I don't ask for equality of result, but equality of opportunity. This is the purest form of feminism-the belief that everyone deserves equal treatment.

This is empowerment. Not some government handout, or the sympathy of social media, but being able to see what you've accomplished. In my lifetime I have seen feminism roar, demanding the tears of men and the help of a national government. Liberal nations believe that opinions should be kept within a box, that the reward of hard work must be shared with others, and that the historically oppressed are modern superiors. I believe that to be a true equal in society, you must act as one. Not as a superior, but as if every person you meet is exactly that- a person. The only party that supports this common human dignity is the Republican party. Only here do we find a right to your own profits, a chance to move beyond your beginnings, respect for life, and equality of opportunity. So, how could you be a feminist and NOT a Republican?


Jennifer Franceschini’s winning 2016 essay from Lincoln-Way East:

Six-hundred-forty-three hours, the amount of time I have dedicated to my three part time jobs this year. Six-hundred-forty-three hours on top of one-thousand-two-hundred-two plus hours in school and extracurricular activities. Six-hundred-forty-three hours of hard work put towards a college education and a hopefully successful future. I began working at Kumon tutoring center in June 2015, where I teach students from pre-k to eighth grade. I then obtained employment for a seasonal summer position at the Creamery and in the winter found a job at Kohl's as a cashier. While I often find these jobs to be exhausting and to take up a large percentage of my time, they have ultimately proven to me that there is something to be gained from hard work besides money. As a tutor, I have learned to be patient and how to be a leader for the children. My efforts shine through in the satisfying moments when even the most stubborn students are inspired to work hard towards their own future. The Creamery has provided me with a very different skill set. At the Creamery, I often find myself listening to two orders at once and simultaneously making ice cream for a third customer. Needless to say, I have developed a tremendous ability to multitask. While employed at Kohl's, it became evident to me that there is no limit to the amount of time or effort one can put into completing his/her job. Some nights I would work until two in the morning straightening clothes or restocking the shelves, but there was always room for improvement. One can never stop improving their skills, attitude, knowledge, or many other qualities that make for a respectable American citizen. It is undeniable that working hard for success provides a variety of benefits that can't be achieved if one is spoon-fed their every wish. I work so hard because I believe that one must put in time and effort to achieve success and accomplish a goal. It is my goal to attend college and in order to do that I knew I had to earn my way so that I was not left crippled financially. This was a personal responsibility and my decision to obtain an education and improve myself and future rested not on the taxpayers who already financed their own education but on my ability to make a financially smart decision to attend a less pricey institution and work to pay for it.

Tommy Budney’s 2016 Winning Essay from Lincoln-Way North:

      Our government is in the news every day as a major headliner. A lot of people question the actions of our government. Four out of every five Americans will say they do not trust their government. The trust of American citizens in their government has dropped rapidly across the last sixty years. People question the existence of our government. Why do we have it?

     In 1776, the Founding Fathers built our government and separated us from the British rule. The Founding Fathers established this government on the idea that the government is ruled by the people and for the people. That idea of government was set up to help the people. They wanted everyone to have basic human rights, which were repressed from them by the British. The government they established was created on a superb idea. Today's government is contrary to how it was originally established. What happened to it? That is good question; our government has lost their morals and has become corrupt. Who is to blame? Is it the politician's fault for misleading us or is it our fault for voting them into office? We are both to blame; we need to fix the problem by admitting there is a problem.

     The primary is almost over and the presidential race is coming up. Who is the right vote? Who will bring change and help the people? The Republican candidates represent getting back to the basics, the Constitution. The Republican candidates are for less government and more power to the people. The Democratic candidates are for a bigger Central Government and less power to the States, which is run by the people. The choice is clear; we must elect a Republican to reclaim our country.

     We need to bring back our original establishment of our government. The Founding Fathers wanted a small Central Government and strong State Government but as seen in the

Articles of Confederation, the Central Government needs some power over the states. The government should be run by the states but there is a need for the Central Government. If there is a problem that occurs in the states, then the Central Government will come in to help and settle the problem. The Central Government should be run for the people and by the people. We need to have politicians that understand what it is like to live in the middle class and even the lower middle class. We need to Politicians to help the middle class; this will help bring in revenue. The revenue from the middle class will help return our economy boom. Let's get back to the basics, the Constitution. Elect a Republican President and we will have a chance to be the country our Founding Fathers founded.


 Bailey Ogalla’s winning 2015 essay from Lincoln-Way East:

          “The government that governs least governs best”.  This statement by Thomas Jefferson Is one I strongly believe, but allow me to explain how I have come to this conclusion.  Growing up, I have seen some of my friends be coddled by their parents; they do little for themselves and seldom make their own decisions.  In turn, they struggle to do be Independent.   I, however, have experienced some different parenting.  My parents never treated me like I was incapable and they allowed me to be my own person.  They have led me to the right decisions, but also have allowed me to make the wrong ones and learn from those experiences. As a result, I believe I am prepared to make my own decisions independently.

          I see a direct correlation between these different parenting styles I have described and our government.  Today, society often relies too heavily on the government, resulting in an unhealthy dependence.   A child that relies on their parents excessively will never be free and independent; the same goes for adults who look to the government for help in every situation.   Our government, just like parents, has a responsibility to protect their citizens, children, from outside threat.  However It also has a duty to allow its citizens to independently flourish without unnecessary meddling.  When a government stipulates each aspect of a citizen’s life, and In turn a citizen blindly follows, we lose some of the very values which our nation was founded on.  Some of the words that define the foundation of our country are that we as Americans have the right to 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".  When our founding fathers wrote this Into the Declaration of Independence, they did not place an asterisk next these words and say In the fine print "except when the government decides otherwise".  These “rights” are just that: rights.

          President Ronald Reagan once stated, "Man Is not free unless government Is limited". The right to freedom Is most often decided for citizens of a nation by Its government.  However, the amount of government involvement often inadvertently decides the extent of that freedom.  It is impossible for a government to be large and all-powerful over citizens' lives without restricting their freedom in the process.  Often times today, elected officials pass laws for the sake of passing laws and put excessive restrictions on citizens’ rights. Our government has a duty to protect us, keep us united, and prevent anarchy, but this does not give them the right to extend their power to so many other areas. Unneeded government programs, over regulation, unnecessary spending, etc. are not only wasting the hard earned money of American citizens, but also infringing upon their freedom.

          I have the utmost respect for our elected officials who day in and day out stand up for the rights and freedoms of the American people, as well as fight to keep government spending and bureaucracies to a minimum.  They prove every day that "the government that governs least governs best”.

Amanda Jackson's 2015 winning essay from Lincoln-Way North

     The sound of the doctor’s footsteps echoed as he approached the hospital room and opened the door.  He spoke with my mom and she started crying.  I was five years old at the time, and could not comprehend what the doctor meant by an incurable disease that required lifelong maintenance. I have never wished that I could have changed what happened on February 10, 2002. My life wou1d no longer be the same due to diabetes but over the years I have shown others that it is possible to move on and not let it rule over my life. My parents have always been my biggest supporters. They want to see me succeed and have reassured me that by pursuing a career in nursing, 1 can help others overcome obstacles and make the best out of every situation. They have also taught me that using diabetes as an excuse will get me nowhere in life. Without diabetes I would not have chosen to go into the medical field. I personally believe that all things happen for a reason and looking back at when I got diagnosed, I am now realizing why. In a like manner, senior year I am taking a rigorous anatomy and physiology medical class that provides experience in a hospital setting. It made me realize that going into the medical field is how I want to spend my career.  Going to the hospital opened my eyes to the opportunities that await me. It made me look forward to taking pharmacology and biology classes, but most of all I cannot wait to participate in clinicals. When 1 go to college in pursuit of a bachelor's degree I hope to further my career by attending medical school in anticipation of becoming a physician's assistant. There are varieties of tasks that a PA can deal with, thus making work more surprising when an issue comes up. I want to become a nurse because I have lived with a disease and know what it feels like to be respectfully treated by doctors and nurses, for this reason, I would want to treat others the way I was treated. Growing up, I have always longed to give back to my community because they have done so much for me.  I feel as though assisting them when they need help is one of the best ways to give back. Through my career as a nurse, I want to show individuals that it is possible to make the best out of every situation. I could have let diabetes get best of me, but instead I used it to inspire a personal desire to study nursing.

Alex Littleton's 2014 winning essay from Lincoln-Way North

      As a student at Lincoln-Way North, an academically competitive high-school, one has to fully apply themselves to earn above-average grades. We not only push ourselves to our maximum potentials, but we also motivate others to achieve their best. Lincoln-Way North's competitive academic nature is very similar to the competitive nature caused by free enterprise.

      I have heard students say many times, "If I went to another school I would be at the top of my class, and the classes would be so much easier." Whether that statement would hold true is not important. What is significant is that students know they have to try their hardest if they want to be above-average. If I were to transfer to a less challenging high-school, I could blow off homework,sleep through class, but maintain the same class rank. Although I would be of equal success when compared to my peers, I would not have achieved my full potential. At Lincoln-Way North students need to take honors and advanced placement courses in order to stand out from the average student. I have received straight A’s for seven straight semesters, yet my class rank has slightly declined every semester. As my class rank began to drop, I looked for alternate routes to stand out. I became class president, National Honors Society president, Math Honors Society president, and joined many other clubs. I was forced to excel in all facets of high-school in order to become a great student at Lincoln-Way North.

      Apple and Microsoft have been competitors in the technology industry for many years. They began competing when Computers first became popular. Both Apple and Microsoft were extraordinary companies, but they reached heights un-imaginable because of each other. They were constantly on one another's heels, hungry for the opportunity to develop the next innovative product. Although Apple and Microsoft battled for their computers, they were forced to take advantage of all areas in the technology industry. For example, Microsoft built a popular gaming system called Xbox. Apple built an innovative communication device called the iPhone. Twenty years ago as these companies fought over sales for their computers, neither company knew the heights they were going to reach. They accomplished the impossible, because of their desire to be the best

      Whether it is a high-school student, or a fortune 500 company, competition is what drives us to achieve greatness. If a high-school student knows that excellent grades will not be enough to get accepted into a selective university, then he/she is going to look for other opportunities to stand-out. If a businessman knows that he will not have dinner on the table unless he meets quota, then he will be forced to work overtime. On the other hand, if America was a country that did not support free enterprise, then we would be 'Home of the lazy'. There would not be innovation, because there would not be competition. America did not receive the title of being the best country in the world in 1776; we earned the title throughout time, as generations of men and women competed together to develop our nation.


Alexander Arseneau's 2014 winning essay from Lincoln-Way East:

Thoughts on Labor Unions

      For the last four years of my life, I have worked hard preparing for college and giving myself the best starting point I could for my future. One of the main American ideas is that with hard work and determination, you can achieve great things.

      Labor unions started out as a noble and necessary movement. In the early 20th century, big business owners were taking advantage of their workers, paying them nearly nothing and forcing long hours in order to maximize profits. So unions formed, giving employees a voice in the company. These early unions achieved things like minimum wage, retirement financial plans, vacation days, etc. That all was fine and necessary, because without those things the working class struggled to make a respectable living while still enjoying their life.

      Today, unions continue to exist and gain strength. Despite the fact that they already have a lot of the job benefits they previously existed to fight for, today's unions continue to push for raises and, by consequence, better social positions. And this causes problems when workers demand money that just doesn't exist. For example, AWU bankrupted GM by demanding more and more pay. Many people don't realize the Obama administration bailout money didn't go to GM; it went to union members pockets.

      I understand the necessity of unions in some industries so that workers can live comfortably off their salaries. To understand the problem with labor workers having a large amount of power, we need only to look at history; the Soviet Union. Unions can be considered a microcosm of socialism: the same problems that made socialism fail are the same problems that allow our union system to hurt our economy. Workers have no incentive to work harder, and are not punished by working less. If they're guaranteed a raise after working "x" number of years, then why bother working any harder? This leads to a culture of laziness and entitlement, and negatively impacts our economy. We have seen the effects of this in the fast 6 years.

      As I get closer to college, and closer to my working life, I can't help but think it wrong that people should be rewarded for laziness. I believe it only makes sense that someone striving to reach their potential by working a difficult, important, or high stress job should be paid a lot more and receive more benefits than someone with a drill on an assembly line or someone in an orange vest on the side of a highway. Unions have gone too far, and have started to crack the foundation of the American free enterprise system. The government needs to step in; not to appease their wishes by raising taxes and giving away the money, but to regulate them and reestablish the idea that taking iInitiative in school and life will pay off. Because that's what I'm counting on.


Jack Bainbridge's winning 2013 essay from Lincoln-Way East

As I begin to count down the days until I depart for college, it is finally hitting me that my classmates and I are truly the up-and-coming leaders of our nation. Although a daunting idea to ponder, it brings me great excitement to know it is almost my time to make a difference in the world and leave my own mark.  I strongly believe that my experiences and service up to this point in my life have thoroughly prepared me for the challenges and tasks to come.  I look forward to embracing this opportunity and striving to improve the world.

As a wide-eyed freshman in high-school, I never imagined the impact Student Council would have on my future.   After working my way up through the ranks, all of my perseverance paid off senior year when I was elected President of the Student Council.  This role has required many extra hours of work, but nonetheless, has paid off by teaching me how to be a successful leader.  I have helped organize a community Wheelchair Basketball game between varsity athletes from my school and children with physical disabilities to help raise awareness for this worthy organization.  Our Student Council also organized a successful bicycle drive which collected hundreds of used bikes to be donated to less-fortunate children.  lt is always rewarding when we are able to organize an event which benefits others. I have also learned the importance of persistence, compromise, communication, and time-management. Combining these qualities with a solid foundation, I am confident in my ability to meet new people and work together to do great things in the future. Without my experiences in Student Council, it is doubtful that I would have this eagerness or capability.

Looking forward to college, I plan on majoring in finance and accounting and possibly becoming an international businessman by continuing my study of the Spanish language. I believe this field provides mc with endless opportunities to improve the quality of our world. There is so much unethical activity present in the business world now, and I feel like I could work to improve the conditions of this field.  By working in the international realm, I aim to better the relations between the United States and our business partners.  I have always been confident in my ability to communicate and compromise with others, so hopefully this will help me in these endeavors.  Taking a step back from my major, student council has instilled in me the importance of giving back to my community through any means possible. I strongly believe that this value will stick with me forever.  I not only want to give back through financial contributions, but I also want to act as a role-model by standing up and helping to make a tangible difference.  Although this can be a scary point in my life, I look forward to the experiences ahead of me and the opportunity to improve our world.

Christian Gorski's winning 2013 essay from Lincoln-Way North

There is a common misunderstanding about the function of taxes among Americans. Some believe that taxes are a means for distributing the "extra" money of the rich to the poor.  Some see taxes (and tax breaks) as disincentives or incentives to control die behavior of citizens. In reality, taxes should have only one purpose: to finance the government's operations.

One of the problems with the first abuse of taxes ("spreading the wealth around") is the idea that some people are "too rich."  There certainly are people who have more money than they need (though less than are so accused) and it may be a tempting idea to take their money to give to the poor. However, it does not matter if it appears that someone has a surplus of money; so long as the money was gained legitimately, it belongs to the citizen, rich or poor.  The government does not have a right to a person's money simply because it has determined that "he has enough;" no one has the right to spread another's wealth around.  Wealth should be redistributed naturally, through entrepreneurship, employment, trade, and charity. Overtaxing die wealthy discourages success, impedes economic growth and—in practice—fails to alleviate poverty.

Another misuse of taxes occurs when the government taxes "unfavorable" actions and gives breaks for "favorable" ones.  For one thing, this is a bizarre way to control behavior.  If an action harms society, it should simply be outlawed.  Taxation is therefore used to restrict freedom on issues where explicitly writing a law would be too controversial, (e.g. "sin taxes" on alcohol and tobacco.)  But worse still, the government receives money when people commit the "discouraged" action, and therefore has an incentive to keep the sinners sinning.  Moreover, there is no real reason for the government to receive extra money in this case, and it evinces an improper attitude: that is, that the government should get whatever money is left over, instead of receiving a strictly defined amount of revenue.

A problem with both these views of taxing is, ironically, that it gives the government extra revenue. At first it might seem like a great way to finance new government projects, or help chip away at the immense national debt.  However, it is simply irresponsible and imprudent to shower the government with extra money.  The government should create a carefully-planned budget and gain revenue based on what it needs, not what it can squeeze out of its citizens.  If the government gains money unjustly through things like sin taxes and overtaxing the successful, it will grow accustomed to and depend upon that money.  The United States government (at least currently) should not be trusted to be fiscally responsible with extra revenue—if anything, the surplus may encourage overspending.  Besides, the handling of taxes is wrong in itself; much of the .government's money is gained for the wrong reasons. The only legitimate reason for taxation is to fund the government's service to its citizens; any other approach is tax abuse.

Bridgette Waldier's 2012 winning essay from Lincoln-Way East


One… Two… Three…

Three counts later I opened my eyes to a brand new looking face. The lady that took all the weight off my head handed me my sacrifice, my pony tail.

One would think as a three-time donor to Locks of Love that looking in the mirror to see the transformation from mermaid looking hair to a short bob should be no big deal. However, the fact is it takes me at least two years to grow my hair out to the point where I can donate it. In those two years, my hair receives lots of brushing, conditioning, and compliments. As much as I hate to admit it, as my hair grows, I grow attached to it. Much like Samson from the Bible, my long hair gives me confidence. Once cut, I must rediscover confidence somewhere else.

Two days after donating my hair, I walked into school with a hair tie around my wrist frustrated that I couldn’t pull my hair up for practice. I tried reminding myself that my hair will grow back – it didn’t work. I tried convincing myself that this new style was chic – I didn’t believe it. I tried imagining the young cancer patient’s face as she tries on the wig made out of my hair – that did it and gave me the needed confidence boost. I was so consumed in my thoughts that I failed to notice my two friends modeling in front of me. So, when I smiled at my last thought, they thought I was smiling at them.

“So you like it?” one inquired.

Shock overcame me. I wasn’t the only one without a pony tail in for practice, because my two friends were now sporting short hairdos, too. They claimed I inspired them to donate their own hair, plus they thought short hair was posh.

That night, as I experienced the weird sensation of washing your hair after a haircut and feeling like there is nothing there, I smiled again. I thought of the power I had to inspire and make a difference. I realized it is up to us as individuals and a society to make a difference. It is not our government’s job to hand things out to those in need; it is our job.

The United States was built on the idea that individuals should take initiative and be responsible. There are some in need, and we the people must each sacrifice at times for one another, whether it is money, time, or even hair. Charity promotes peace, compassion and strength. Most importantly, giving to charity instills confidence both in individuals and in others. Charity doesn’t stem from the government, it stems from the people.

Samatha Lullo's 2012 winning essay from Lincoln-Way North

I hold the key to the presidential election this Fall.  You see, I just turned 18 in Dec 2011 and immediately  I registered to vote.  A lot of people take this right for granted but being able to vote is a privilege.  I have facebooked my friends and spoken to others in school who are turning 18 to register to vote.  A friend of mine since grammar school said, “So you really think your one vote will make the difference this Fall?”  I quickly replied, “I do!”  I went on to explain why.

When I was much younger, 10 or 11 years old, there was a family birthday party at my house.  The kids were playing party games, the women were talking about new recipes to try, and the men were discussing what else – politics.  One of my uncles said, “I’m not going to vote, my one vote won’t make a difference.”   To which my dad replied, “One vote DOES make a difference.”   He went on to say that it was by one vote that Texas was voted into the union, by just one vote English was made the language of the land instead of German, by one vote was the Alaskan purchase made paving the way for it to become a state in 1958, and by just one vote was an ex-army officer elevated to lead the Nazi Party, commonly known to us all as Adolf Hitler.  While my dad was talking things got quiet and people listened.  The kids listened tentatively as if a history lesson at school was being taught.  The women also stopped chattering to listen to the silence created by my dad talking.  Even my uncle now red-faced said, “I guess we all need to vote.”

While that whole speech took my dad a minute or two, it has lived in me ever since that night.  Voting is a right, a privilege, something our forefathers have fought for and part of our freedom we continue to fight for.  After everyone had gone home, I asked my dad if I could vote in the upcoming election.  He smiled and said, “Sammie, I’m glad you are interested; I wish you could but, you must be eighteen.”  He further reminded me that when the time came I could get registered and then see what the candidates stood for.  Today, I know this and their platforms.

In August of last year, I was registering for my senior year at Lincoln Way North.  As I walked through the halls looking at the various clubs being represented, gym uniforms for sale, band boosters and athletic booster’s memberships, I noticed a table, in the corner, not crowded at all.  The sign above the table said “Register to Vote.”  I already had my gym uniform, I knew what classes I was taking, my parents already purchased our band booster membership so I walked to the table with no line and asked if I could register to vote only being 17.  Since I would turn 18 before the next general election, I was able to register.   I was even able to recruit a fellow classmate as they were passing by…” this is a right; a privilege.”

In January of 2012, I received my voter’s registration card from the Will County Clerk’s office.  It had my name in BOLD LETTERS.  Finally, I would be able to vote in March of this year.  While voting in my first primary will be big, my first Presidential election in November 2012 will be unbelievably awesome.  As my generations says, “Epic.”

Monica Randall’s 2011 winning essay from Lincoln-Way North: How Volunteerism Changed My Life

I grew up emulating the great and unstoppable.  Creepy though it may seem, Ralph Waldo Emerson was always smiling down on me from my ceiling when I awoke in the morning. To me, great minds and achievers like Emerson had reached a sort of perfection – they were prodigies.  I wanted to obtain that level of success.

So it was no surprise that during high school it seemed to me that my life was becoming a pathetic story of failure.  I played the forward water polo position, but I was only on the JV team.  I won several medals as a novice Speech Team member, but I never placed first.  I had failed; it was already my junior year and I was nothing close to a prodigy.

The fall of my junior year, I nursed my emotional wounds (ones brought on by the influx of “failure) every Saturday while teaching children’s swim lessons as a volunteer for the South Suburban Special Recreational Association.  Since I had experience teaching swim lessons, they let me design my own lesson plan.  I was making a difference while concurrently nurturing the teacher inside me.  I couldn’t help feeling a little prodigal.

The challenge was that the children I was teaching were disabled.  Coming home from the first Saturday session, I doubted that some of the kids would ever be able to swim.  One autistic boy, Andy, was causing me the most distress.  I’d get in the pool and talk to him, hold him under the arm pits and coax him encouragingly, but he’d just giggle.  Despite my doubts, by week five, Andy was kicking from the side of the wall. I longed to see Andy succeed; I wanted to see the boy swim.  On the last day of class, I threw floating toys all around the pool, them I implored, “Andy, doesn’t that whale look fun? Why don’t you swim over and grab it?”  To my disbelief, he straightened his legs, kicked over to the toy and snatched it up with glee.  Andy, in his own way, swam!

I knew Andy would never swim like Michael Phelps, but despite all odds, he improved.  I recalled my sulking over how I still wasn’t a prodigy, and finally realized how silly I had been.  During high school I had gone from singing the little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World” in the cafeteria for a band fundraiser to singing the National Anthem in front of hundreds at a varsity basketball game.  I may not have sung at the Super Bowl, but I had done something amazing.  I had improved.  So I let go of my dreams of becoming a prodigy, and I aspired to what truly matters – improvement.  And yes, I still hold on to Emerson for my inspiration, but now he smiles at me from a reasonable place on my bedroom wall.

Zachary Jones' 2011 winning essay from Lincoln-Way East: Role of Government

We live in the greatest country in the world – the United States of America.  Many lives were sacrificed in order to institute our republican form of government.  This style of government would not be sustainable, however, without specific guidelines that laid out the role of government in the citizen’s lives.  The two primary documents that laid out our liberties and the role of government were the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.

The Declaration of Independence stated that every person has the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; these rights were granted by God.  Our founding fathers determined that a central government with a limited and enumerated powers is the only possible way to guarantee the individual rights and freedoms necessary for a society to thrive.  They understood the fragility of a republican form of government; they therefore wrote the Constitution which laid out the specific powers that were granted to the government by the people.  The 10th Amendment was created to solidify this limitation: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Benjamin Franklin understood this principle very clearly.  Upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, he was asked what form of government they had created for the people.  He responded, “A republic, for as long as you can keep it.”  Franklin knew that the government’s growth in size and power would come at the cost of liberty.  Unfortunately, the fears of our founding fathers have been proven prescient.

The roles and limitations originally assigned to the federal government provided individual liberties that drove our success.  The power of this freedom was displayed when innovation led to a great expansion of our economy during the twentieth century.  The economy was self-regulating without any need for government intervention and the nation’s economic standing continued to grow in the world.  In recent decades, however, the federal government began to regulate and control more and more aspects of economics and social elements of the nation.  This governmental expansion has come at great financial cost.  In 2011, the United States federal budget is 3.7 trillion dollars; 1.6 trillion of this will be debt.  Our current total debt is approximately 14 trillion dollars. Yet this expansion of power and assumption of debt has led only to deterioration of the quality of our institution.  In order to reverse this trend and ensure America’s greatness into the future, we must restore the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the states and the people.

The question we now face is this: will our country remain great?  Will the current generation of leaders step up to this challenge?  Will our future generations be determined to return our government to the original intent?  I am determined to be part of the solution.  I intend to help return this country to its dominant standing.

Molly Beil’s 2010 Winning Essay from L-W North

There are many problems facing the world today.  It sometimes feels impossible as one small person to make a change.  For the past two years, I have been dedicated to a specific cause in order to do my part in changing the world.

Two years ago, while attending a Christ InYouth Conference with my youth group, I first learned about Rapha House.  Rapha House is an organization in Cambodia dedicated to rescuing young women who are victims of sex trafficking and giving them a safe place to live.  They take the girls in, love them and counsel them, while also giving them an education or training in a specific trade so that they can become a contributing member of society. This job training is very important as many girls end up back in slavery or sex trafficking with nowhere to go and no means of supporting themselves.  When I learned about these girls and the horrible things they have had to suffer, my heart broke for them.  I was affected by their stories, as were others in my youth group, and although they were located on the other side of the world, we wanted to do something to help the girls at Rapha House.

Last summer, my friend Lauren came to me with an idea: a Hair Salon to raise money for Rapha House.  We started planning right way because we really wanted to make it happen this time.  We picked a date that was the same day as the Homecoming dance for three high schools in the area so that the girls could come to get their hair, nails, and make-up done for the dance. Lauren was in charge of recruiting and contacting volunteers, making sure they had all the information they needed, as well as collecting donations of supplies.  While Lauren was away college for most of the planning, I handled everything that needed to be done at home such as advertising for the event, signing up girls for appointment times, making flyers, and collecting supplies.  We also had to come up with suggested donation prices. On the day of the salon, we arrived at our church early in the morning to set up each station.  We had seven hair dressers, two nail artists, and one make-up artist as well as other volunteers who were collecting donations, making sure things ran smoothly, and informing those there about Rapha House.  The salon was open for six hours and with the help of twenty volunteers we had thirty girls come through.  We were able to raise $1,725 for Rapha House.  The event was such a success that we are planning on making it an annual event at our church.  We are not only raising awareness of a global issue, but we are doing our part to change the world.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of them and even if it is in a small way, I am going to continue to do whatever I can to change their world.

For more information on Rapha House, please visit

Vanessa Stokes 2010 Winning Essay from L-W East

I am the oldest of four siblings.  I am also the only girl.  Growing up, my brothers always looked up to me.  I loved school, and everything about it.  I came home every day and played “school” with my brothers.  I would pretend to be their teacher.  I had an attendance chart, a seating chart, and would even give them homework assignments.  Ever since childhood I have loved teaching and helping people do new things.  Whether it was helping my brothers with their multiplication or teaching them how to do a trick on the trampoline, I was there to facilitate.  I have discovered that teaching is my life calling, and I want to be a teacher someday.  I will strive to change the world by teaching.

Over the years, I have had many experiences with teaching children, who are at early childhood age.  Since I am the oldest sibling, I have had many opportunities to babysit.  I would not only watch my brothers for my mom, but I was also asked to watch my brother’s friends for their parents.  I would go to their friend’s houses, watch them for a few hours, and help them with their homework.  This helped me lean responsibility and how to work with kids.  In addition, I also volunteered to be an assistant teacher for St. Mary’s Religious Education Program.  I went every Saturday morning to teach the three and four year olds.  We taught them prayers, and I was able to work with them in the activities for that day.  I would help them cut, color, and pay attention.  I have enjoyed working with the young kids and hope my influence on them will help them change the world for the better.

Besides working with really young kids, I have also gotten a chance to work with older kids.  This year I am a Senior Peer Mentor.  I was chosen to be in a freshman study hall and give them advice throughout the school year.  Every Friday I am given a topic to talk about with them, such as: peer pressure, getting involved in school, and school events.  I was very nervous at first, because I didn’t know what to expect. Now, after doing it for the past month, I love it.  I feel like I am impacting their lives and helping make good decisions. I am getting a lot of experience being in front of the class talking like a normal teacher would. Also, this year I volunteered to be a teaching assistant for eighth graders at St. Mary’s Religious Program.  I go every Wednesday night and teach my brother’s class.  I take attendance and am allowed to lead daily lessons.  This is a big opportunity because I am responsible for teaching specific materials.  Even though older kids may be more difficult to handle, I still enjoy teaching them.  In addition to the younger children, I want to influence older kids to change the world for the better.

No matter what happens in the future, I hope my childhood dream of becoming a teacher comes true.  The career of being a teacher is very important since it impacts future generations of leaders. Teaching them good morals and values can be very important in changing the world for the better.

FTRO Meeting Location


Old Frankfort Township Government Building
11008 W. Lincoln Hwy / U.S. 30
Frankfort, IL 60423