Voice of America: HHS student’s essay celebrates freedom to vote

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Houghton High School ninth-grader Linda Tang, above, is advancing to the state Voice of Democracy competition.

HOUGHTON — A Houghton High School student’s essay on the importance of voting won a vote of its own.

Ninth-grader Linda Tang earned a trip to Kalamazoo after finishing first at the district level in Voice of Democracy.

Created by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1947, the competition solicits high school students across the country to write and record an essay on a patriotic theme.

This year’s topic was “Why my vote matters.”

Tang wrote about how immigrants to the United States can appreciate how much freedom the country has, while some people born in America take it for granted.

“My parents were immigrants, and they’re now citizens,” said Tang, whose parents came to the U.S. from China. “My dad has always told me how our freedom is so important and how lucky I am to be born here instead of another country.

“I just think by not voting, you’re taking our freedoms for granted and all the work we did in the past to get here.”

The competition has four levels: post, district, state and national.

Having won the district round, Tang is going to the state competition in Kalamazoo at the end of the month.

“I’m kind of nervous because I have to read my essay out loud, but since I already typed it out, I don’t have to do anything,” she said. “I’m not stressed out about making it the best it can be, because it’s already done.”

The winner at state then goes to the national competition, which will be held in Washington, D.C., from March 2-6.

Tang said the contest has taught her not to underestimate herself.

“I made it this far, and I didn’t realize I could do that,” she said.