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Senior Presented with Good Citizens Award by the Daughters of the American Revolution

Senior Gianna Figlioli was the recipient of this year’s Good Citizens Award, sponsored by the Skokie Valley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Created in 1934, this honorary award recognizes the qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism in their homes, schools, and communities.
Gianna was nominated for the award by Mrs. Katie Axelrad, her psychology teacher, and her record at Loyola demonstrated these qualities more clearly than any other nominees. Each school's Good Citizen in the Skokie Valley region had the opportunity to enter an essay contest for a cash award, which Gianna did.

On Saturday, February 17, Gianna was recognized at a ceremony at the Skokie Public Library, where she read her essay before families and faculty sponsors. Gianna’s essay has been published below:

Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving it: “What are the civic
responsibilities of a good citizen and why are these duties, activities and behaviors important to the shaping of the America you hope to experience?”

Seeking change is an active process that can be begun by any individual who aims to take initiative. It will never go into effect when one person steps to the side and allows the responsibility to fall onto someone else. To be good citizens, we must display the characteristics of patriotism, service, and leadership, to showcase our appreciation for the nation that provides us with a multitude of opportunities and endless freedom.
Voting is one of the most basic, yet important, duties of being a good American citizen. Patriotism is especially emphasized by the act of voting as well. When you vote, you actively participate in shaping the nation you hope to experience because you provide your opinion to which individuals and policies should govern the country. If you sit back and only hope for change, nothing will ever happen. Therefore, when every demographic participates in sharing their opinions, people from different backgrounds ultimately have a say in what impacts our nation. The social contract theory represents the idea that the government only exists based on the consent of the governed. The United States follows that concept strictly because democracy only exists when the people have a say, and by voting, you are engaging in the ideals of democracy and embracing your beliefs
Engaging and serving in the communities you subscribe to is also a key aspect of being a good American citizen. Service can range from being as complex as serving the country through the military to as simple as volunteering with a local community organization. When you engross yourself into the communities you are a part of, you develop a broader and more open-minded worldview and become educated about the lives of other demographic groups. So, by serving and surrounding yourself with outside communities, you are living proof of a nation that is more educated about the lives of individuals besides your own. A key historical example is Jane Addams and the Hull House. The Hull House was located in Chicago, Illinois, and Jane Addams served her community through the estate by providing social and educational opportunities to lower class individuals. When we participate in service, we are taking initiative to bring the change we hope to see in the world and our dedication can inspire others to follow suit. Through our heritage, the United States has developed many opportunities for people from all backgrounds and it is our civic duty to use our hard-earned freedom to serve those around us.
Standing up for what you believe in is an additional vital behavior of a good American citizen. Our leadership as individuals is especially displayed when we make an effort to stand up for our values and beliefs. While this can be showcased through voting, we can also highlight our leadership in classroom debates or by making statements before your city council. If you seek change in society, you must be willing to stray from norms and stand by your beliefs indefinitely. We must be willing to take risks and fight for our beliefs, which is an ability that is granted by the brave men and women who serve our country. In history, change never came from individuals who were too scared to break the status quo.

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