[Congressional Record: June 11, 2002 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
AMERICA: A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, each year the American Immigration
Law Foundation and the American Immigration Lawyers Association sponsor
a national writing contest on immigration. Thousands of fifth-grade
students from across the country participate in the competition,
responding to the statement, ``Why I'm Glad America is a Nation of
These essays remind us that it is of great importance that we not
forget our rich history and heritage as a nation of immigrants.
Continued immigration is part of our national well-being, our identity
as a nation, and our strength in today's world.
I had the privilege of serving as one of the judges for this year's
contest, and was very impressed by the young writers. In their essays,
the students showed great pride in our Nation's diversity and its
immigrant heritage, and many told the story of their own family's
I am pleased to announce that this year's winner is a Massachusetts
resident, Nicole Florio, a fifth-grade student in Framingham, MA. In
her poem, ``Why Am I Glad,'' Nicole explores the value of her friends'
cultures and how their diversity enhances her life. She describes the
diverse traditions and treasures of her friends, from Ceilidh's Irish
step-dancing to Anastasia's nesting dolls. In the final stanza, Nicole
notes how she herself is a product of immigrants, as all of us are, and
that without immigration, ``there would be no me!''
Other students honored for their creative essays were Mike Duffy of
Sarasota, FL, Emily Friedman of Los Angeles, CA, Christina Jundt of
Norcross, GA, and Ilana Pena of North Miami Beach, FL.
I believe that these award-winning essays in the ``Celebrate
America'' contest will be of interest to all of us in the Senate, and
ask that they be printed in the Record.
The essays follow.
Why Am I Glad America Is a Nation of Immigrants
(By Nicole Florio, Hemenway Elementary School, Farmingham, MA, Grand
People come to America
from many different places,
I have lots of friends
of many different races.
Ceilidh's from Ireland,
we have loads of fun,
she taught me Irish step-dancing
we dance till day is done!
Jessica's from Colombia,
she speaks Spanish,
to speak two languages
is my wish.
Anastasia is from Russia,
I adore her nesting dolls,
I looked for them
in all of the malls.
Cara and Cady are from China,
Cady's grandma grows bamboo.
They both love Chinese New Year
and I do too!
Murat is from Turkey,
his wedding I did love,
when we left the
fireworks blasted 'bove!
Nicole is from Israel,
she is thirteen.
When she had her Bat Mitzvah
she looked like a queen!
If I didn't have these friends,
how boring life would be!
I'm glad America has immigrants
as you can plainly see.
Mom's family is from Poland,
Dad's from Italy,
if my grandparents didn't come
there would be no me!
Based on a true story!
Why I Am Glad America Is a Nation Of Immigrants
(By Mike Duffy, Pine View Elementary, Sarasota, FL, Runner-Up)
I am glad America is a nation of immigrants. When the
original immigrants came to America, they came here seeking
freedom of expression, religious freedom, and freedom from
oppression. This helped to form our constitution, which gives
us those same equal rights today.
The diverseness of the people who came here for
opportunities brought about a culture that the world had not
previously seen before. It also gave us ideas that would have
never come to light otherwise.
Living with other cultures teaches us new things and makes
us more tolerant and understanding of our fellow man. The
education we gave each other makes us more open to new ideas
and better technology. Our nation is the strongest and best
because of our unity.
In America all religions are practiced freely. Our
different beliefs are acknowledged and respected. This makes
us strong and proud. Our way of life is often challenged
though. Freedom is always at stake from those who wish to
dominate. Brave immigrants past and present, who took the
chance of coming here for a better life; help keep our
country free and strong. Once they have enjoyed the freedom
we have, they are willing to stand up and fight to keep that
Mutual respect, which all people can enjoy here in this
country, is why we (all cultures) come together so readily,
when any part of our nation is in trouble. It is living proof
that despite our differences we are all Americans at heart.
A Nation of Immigrants
(By Emily Friedman, Stephen S. Wise Elementary, Los Angeles, CA, AILA
Southern California Chapter Contest Winner)
In early September my teachers asked, ``Do you think
America is a melting pot or a salad bowl?'' After thinking
about it, I decided America is neither. America is not like a
melting pot because all the cultures do not blend together
and become unnoticeable. However, America is not a salad bowl
because cultures do not stay as distinct as lettuce and
cucumbers in a salad. I thought America should be described
as a chunky, minestrone soup. The ingredients stay distinct,
but as the soup simmers, the ingredients like cultures
interact and blend with each other.
The different spices and vegetables that go into minestrone
soup are like the immigrants from different places around the
world. The immigrants spice up the soup and make it
flavorful. With the exception of Native Americans, we were
all once immigrants. The best secret of a minestrone soup is
that it never stays the same. As immigrants come from all
over the world, they contribute to the taste of the soup.
They bring their language, traditions, foods and customs and
their various dreams for a better life for freedom and
opportunity. They also add their ideas for a better America
and make contributions to our society.
I am proud to live in a country where people can be free
and where everyone can contribute. I am glad America is a
nation of immigrants because without them, America wouldn't
be a chunky bowl of delicious minestrone soup.
America--A Nation of Immigrants
(By Christina Jundt, Simpson Elementary School, Norcross, GA, AILA
Atlanta Chapter Contest Winner)
As Immigrants traveled over the rolling sea, checked in at
Ellis Island, suffered
through minimum wage jobs, and endured criticism from the
people around them, they had no idea they would change
American people, and America itself forever.
America is like a giant mosaic--the most beautiful in the
world. If the mosaic was all one color, the beauty would be
gone. The pieces are all beautiful in their own way. Not one
piece is more important than another. Not one piece shines
more brightly than another. The mosaic is perfect, and
without Immigrants, this could not have been accomplished. So
much of our lives would be different if it wasn't for the
diverse nationalities, and the Immigrants that traveled from
those nations. Every time you eat a plate of spaghetti, think
of an Italian Immigrant. Every time you bite into a bar of
chocolate, think of a Mexican Immigrant. Every time you look
around your community, and see people nationalities, who have
different religions, who have different customs, think of an
Immigrant who bravely traveled from their hometown, to bring
us those unique ways of life. These Immigrants enriched and
influenced our lives in so many positive ways.
Why I'm Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants
(By Ilana Pena, Oaks Elementary School, North Miami Beach, FL, AILA
Southern Florida Chapter Contest Winner)
Tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce . . . Russians, Cubans, Asians
. . . This is America, a nation of immigrants. Many people
say America is a melting pot, everybody coming from different
nations but melting into America. We are all proud to be
Americans, but I think of us not as a melting pot, but as a
A salad bowl is made up of different vegetables, each with
it's own distinct flavor. When you take a bite, you still
taste each individual vegetable, but mixed all together, the
salad is delicious. Each American has his own distinct
identity yet mixes together to create our wonderful America,
a country made up of different people, with different
cultures and backgrounds.
Being a country of immigrants makes America a dynamic place
to live. We are rich with unique cultures. I have a friend
whose family comes from India, and I am fascinated by her
stories about her family's home country. Because of
immigrants, there are different foods in our country,
different clothing, different songs, and different ways of
My father and his family came from Cuba, and my mother's
family came from Russia. I am grateful that my country
welcomed them here in the United States of America. On our
Thanksgiving table is not only the traditional turkey, but
frijoles negros, and kugel pudding. It makes me realize what
a remarkable country I live in, as we all, Jews and Cubans,
sit around a long table with the salad in the center
representing our country, and share our cultures.
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