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[Congressional Record: June 18, 2003 (Senate)]
[Page S8118-S8119]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


  Mr. KENNEDY. Madam President, each year fifth graders across the 
United States compete in a writing contest on immigration sponsored by 
the American Immigrant Law Foundation and the American Immigration 
Layers Association. Thousands of students participated in this year's 
competition, responding to the question, ``Why I'm Glad America is a 
Nation of Immigrants.''
  In 1958, President Kennedy, who was then completing his first term as 
a Senator, published a book with the title, ``A Nation of Immigrants,'' 
and I had the privilege of serving as one of the judges for this year's 
contest. It was impressive to see how the students responded. Their 
essays illustrate the wealth of diverse cultures that immigrants share 
with our Nation. The students' writings radiate with pride for our 
diversity and our immigrant heritage. Many students told personal 
stories of their families and friends and their immigration to the 
United States.
  The winner of this year's contest is Miranda Santucci of Pittsburgh. 
In her essay, ``An American Patchwork Quilt,'' Miranda explores the 
value of her friends' cultures and how their diversity has enhanced her 
life. She compares the United States to a colorful patchwork quilt 
where ``every fabric piece tells an immigrant's story about overcoming 
hardship, seeking opportunities, and reaching for dreams,'' and where 
``threads of different languages, customs, foods, cultures, religions 
and skills hold these pieces together.'' Miranda's eloquent essay 
reaches to the heart of what makes us all uniquely American.
  Other students honored for their exceptional writing were Rachel 
Adams of Houston, Melissa Cheng of Atlanta, Jessica Du of Alameda, and 
Elias Reisman of Indianapolis. I congratulate these students on their 
outstanding achievement, and I know my brother would be proud of them 
  These award-winning essays will be of interest to all of us in the 
Senate, and I ask unanimous consent that they be printed in the Record.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, so ordered.
  There being no objection, the essays were printed in the Record, as 

         [From the Winchester Thurston School, Pittsburgh, PA]

                      An American Patchwork Quilt

                         (By Miranda Santucci)

       America reminds me of a beautiful patchwork quilt that 
     covers our nation with a diversity of immigrants. Each quilt 
     square is made up of different colors and textures with a 
     unique design and pattern. Every fabric piece tells an 
     immigrant's story about overcoming hardships, seeking 
     opportunities, and reaching for dreams. Threads of different 
     languages, customs, foods, cultures, religions, and skills 
     hold all these pieces together. I'm glad America is a nation 
     of immigrants because these individual patchwork pieces make 
     the whole American quilt more beautiful.
       The quilt covers my home, school, neighborhood, and city. 
     It warms me when I celebrate the feast of fishes on Christmas 
     Eve like my father's Italian ancestors did, when I play with 
     my Greek friend Katarina Konstantinos after school, or when I 
     share the basket blessing tradition at Easter with my 
     neighbor, Peter Muszalski, in his church on Polish Hill. I 
     see many colors in the fabric at my school when I look around 
     at all the different skin tones. I feel how enormous the 
     quilt is when I go through the Strip District and read the 
     storefront signs like Sam-Bok, Stamboolis, Benkovitz, and 
       I cherish each piece of our country's quilt. All the 
     immigrant patches are still unique, even though they are sewn 
     together as one. They make our country rich, full and strong. 
     America's patchwork quilt is a precious heirloom that should 
     be handled with pride, and handed down through the 
     generations of American history.

             [From the Mayde Creek Elementary, Houston, TX]

                          America--My New Home

                           (By Rachel Adams)

     America, America

[[Page S8119]]

       lovely and bright,
       so full of bluebonnets
       and coyotes at night.

     Free as a bird,
       that soars in the sky,
       oh, how I love the way
       your flag waves far and wide.

     Immigrant, immigrant,
       traveling from afar,
       warmly welcomed in America,
       are those who are scarred.

     That's what I am,
       and I want to be free,
       I want to have value,
       and I want to be me.

     I set out on a journey
       and far will I roam
       until I reach my new country,
       a place I'll call home.

     In this country of immigrants,
       I want to have meaning
       to have a life of peace
       and freedom of being.

     I travel to America
       where opportunity awaits,
       the land of the free
       and the home of the brave.

          [From the Montgomery Elementary School, Atlanta, GA]

            Why I am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants

                           (By Melissa Cheng)

     The Dutch Butcher, the German Baker, The Chinese who created 
           paper, to this great land gathers great skill, and we 
           all contribute, so do I, and make America greater 
     From some lands people flee,
     To America the place of democracy,
     For where they originated they had no freedom or rights for 
           they had a dictator who didn't treat them right.
     I am glad I have hearts of hope, dreams of freedom to be and 
           practice who and what I want to be. For freedom there 
           is a price.
     We all must stand together willing to fight.
     We all must stand together and earn this right.
     Without these cultures from near and far, today we wouldn't 
           be who we are.
     Pasta from Italy, bread from Germany, and piniatas that come 
           from Mexico, are what makes America unique.
     All these things put together strengthen our unity and create 
           one big community.
     America the land of opportunity is a place where everybody 
           has an equal chance including me!!!
     That is why I am glad America is a nation of immigrants.

             [From the Amelia Earhart School, Alameda, CA]

              I am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants

                            (By Jessica Du)

     America is a nation of immigrants
     As you can plainly see
     Someone in your history
     Made a change in your family tree.

     Everyone must have a time
     When they moved from place to place
     To live a better life
     And challenge it face to face

     People come to America
     For freedom and for rights
     To speak freely and be educated
     And explore new heights

     My parents are from Vietnam
     Dad escaped by boat
     If someone was lucky, they'd make it to shore
     If not, in the ocean they'd have to float

     My parents changed my whole life
     If they hadn't moved here
     I would be in a different country
     Living in a land of fear

     My classmates are from here and there
     We are all different races
     We speak many languages
     And smile with different faces

     America is a nation of immigrants
     We don't care what race you are
     The poor and rich should know
     You're welcome from near or far.

      [From the International School of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN]

                          Open to Differences

                           (By Elias Reisman)

     My grandma was from Russia
     Her dad had a different belief.
     The army came and seized him
     Which caused her family grief.

     She made it to the United States,
     Fell in love with a Russian man,
     War was looming, he signed up.
     ``Let's marry while we can.''

     They had three kids
     All three were raised as Jews.
     My dad met mom, a Christian girl
     And they had two little new.

     Our self portrait is not crystal clear.
     When asked, what do we tell?
     There is no single label
     That tells our story well.

     We go to an international school
     There are kids of every kind.
     Every race and faith and country
     Makes it even a better time.

     When we seek out those who differ,
     Respect all points of view,
     We are happier, wiser, stronger,
     And our country's safer too.

     We do not care
     Whether yellow, black, or white,
     Immigrant or native--