First-place winners of the Freedom Fest essay contest say Rosa Parks and Dr. Sara Cody have made a difference

Rosa Parks helped change the world for the better

By Tessa Landers

Tessa Landers

Rosa Parks, American Civil Rights leaders

If I could write a thank you note to a woman of great accomplishments from the 20th century, it would be to Rosa Parks. She is a hero to me and millions of others too. She helped others realize that all are equal no matter skin color nor other differences. She helped others find the courage to stand up for themselves and fight for equal rights.  Now let me tell you how she accomplished all she did.

It started in the year 1955, when Rosa Parks was on her way home from work. Back then black people had to sit in the back of the bus while white people would sit in the front. She stepped on the bus and had a seat with two other women.  That’s when the bus pulled up at a stop and three white people stepped on the bus. When the white people had nowhere to sit, the bus driver asked the three women to give their seats to the white people. Two of the women immediately followed instructions and stood up.

However, Rosa Parks did not stand up. She claimed she didn’t have to give up her seat because she was black. The bus driver warned her and said he would, in fact, call the police. Later that day, Rosa Parks was arrested and sentenced to prison for disorderly conduct. She was in prison for four days.

I find this story simply amazing because most people don’t have the courage to stand up for themselves in a situation like that. When she did this, she earned the nickname “The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”

She showed a lot of people that they could do anything they put their minds to. When she did this, she was courageous and brave. There are lots of people who count on what she did to help our country. With the help of Rosa Parks we have a free, and, equal country.  Without her, kids at my school may not have as good of a life, or as loyal friends as they do. She made a change to our country and changed multiple lives.

Without Rosa Parks, our lives would be different. We may not have amazing experiences, or the most loyal friends.  I know, for a fact, that without her help, I may not have the friends I do now.

We have many people in our lives to thank and honor. There are many people who can make a movement in our world or make a change to help others. All you need to know is that you’ll be helping others or making the right choice. Just remember to thank the people in your lives who help you out or help take care of you. There’s always room for people to make a change to our world.

So, if I could write a thank you note to a woman of great accomplishments from the 20th century.  She would be the person who made a change, fought for others, did what she believed was right and changed all our lives.

Tessa Landers is a fifth grader at El Toro Elementary School. Her teacher is Mrs. Golubock.


Dr. Sara Cody helped save many lives with her difficult decision

By Abby Wilcox

Abby Wilcox

Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Public Health Department leader

American women are kind, brave and confident. In history, there are a lot of examples of women who have made good decisions to help their community. It was hard to pick just one woman to write a thank you note to, but I finally decided on someone that is making the world a better place in 2020.

Dr. Sara Cody is the Santa Clara County Health Officer. She has had that job since 2013.  Dr. Cody is the woman who is helping all of us stay healthy by asking everyone to shelter in place during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Cody is smart and has the right experience to make a decision like that, but it still was not easy. She did what she knew was right and that takes courage.

This is my thank you note to Dr. Cody. My plan is to mail it to her so she knows how grateful I am that she is keeping my community healthy.

Dear Dr. Sara Cody,

My name is Abby Wilcox and I am a third grader at Jackson Academy of Math and Music in Morgan Hill, Calif.  I have been reading about you and I wanted to write you a letter.

Thank you for making a thoughtful decision to help us stay healthy. What did it feel like to make a decision like that? It had to be hard. If I were you, I would have felt proud of myself, but I would have also felt bad to cancel a lot of fun things for my friends and family. And, I would have felt nervous that people would not understand. It was important to me to write you this letter so that I could tell you that I think you made the best decision anyone could have made.

I am a Brownie in Troop 60530.  As a Girl Scout, we are taught to be kind, caring and confident. Were you a Girl Scout? I kind-of think you were because you are all of those things.  And, if you were not, you would have made a perfect one!

Girl Scouts are taught to make a difference in their community. It is clear that you used your knowledge and experience to make a decision that was good for the county — just like I am taught to do as a Girl Scout.

I hope that someday, if I have to make a decision as tough as you did, that I can remember how strong and confident you were and be strong and confident myself!

Thank you for your kindness and courage.

Abby Wilcox is a third grader at Jackson Academy of Math and Music. Her teacher is Ms. Schenkelberg.

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