Nolan Hull, a student at Plainfield East High School, is the winner of the Louis Joliet Chapter DAR Good Citizens essay contest.
Hull's essay will be featured this Tuesday in Shaw Media's LocalLit newsletter.
Recently Hull took a few minutes to speak via email with Herald-News features editor Denise M. Baran-Unland.
Baran-Unland: Tell us a bit about your writing background and the inspiration for this essay.
Hull: I have always enjoyed writing but didn’t really have a stage to share my ideas or topics until DAR. One thing I like about writing is the freedom that it presents. When I write about the topics of my choice, there is no censorship and no boundaries. I tend to write on topics that impact others in negative ways and try to find the causes and solutions to those problems.
The prompt I received for the DAR read, “You and your peers are our nation’s leaders of tomorrow. How would you energize America’s youth to fully engage as effective citizens? Why is that important?”
When thinking of a valid solution, I thought about myself and fellow students and how no one really wants to learn about political topics because they don’t understand how it impacts them.
I like learning about history and politics and what it represents to and for us. This question enabled me to think about ways to help the youth of our generation become effective citizens.
Baran-Unland: What motivated you to enter the contest? What was your reaction when you learned the results?
Hull: The counselors at my school nominated me to participate in the competition, and without hesitation I said yes and completed the necessary steps required.
The Daughters of the American Revolution competition is a great scholarship opportunity and the fundamentals that the DAR represent: dependability, service, leadership and patriotism are something I constantly strive to present in my daily life.
To be honest, I felt I lacked confidence in myself when I submitted the paper. After taking the entire two hours allotted to write the paper, I sat back at my desk and thought, “There’s got to be someone better, or smarter, than me who deserves it more than I do."
When I learned I had won the competition I couldn’t believe it, and it really boosted my self- confidence in thinking anything's possible. As cliché' as it may sound to anyone reading this, always believe in yourself.
Baran-Unland: What types of topics do you like to tackle when you write?
Hull: I always like the diversity of controversial topics. My goal for my future is to be in government and politics so it is good to learn to embrace challenges and controversy now.
My dad is a police officer and I learned from him throughout his career how important it is to embrace the community and to help them understand the importance of the laws in place as well as how changing them can create a better environment. This has helped to build my core values and it comes out in my writing.
Baran-Unland: Give a one-line summary about your essay.
Hull: Changing the future of tomorrow by inspiring the generation of today.
Baran-Unland: Where are you planning to attend college, and what you will study? Why?
Hull: I’m planning to attend the United States Naval Academy and study political science/ government. After graduation from the USNA, I will serve for at least five years and fulfill a dream of working in government.
I enjoy the aspect of helping others and being in a leadership position where I can work towards changing a person’s life in a positive way. This is the main reason I would like to serve my country and pursue government to impact communities in a healthful way.
Each week LocalLit will deliver an original short and family-friendly story, or a book review, by a local author to the newsletter's subscribers.
Authors with a connection to our readership area may submit. Submission does not guarantee acceptance.
To submit or for more information, contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at 815-280-4122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up for the free LocalLit newsletter at theherald-news.com/newsletter/locallit/#//. Gomez's essay will appear this Tuesday.
About the Louis Joliet chapter of DAR
According to its website at louisjolietdar.weebly.com, the Louis Joliet chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution started in 1911.
It serves the Joliet-area community with projects in schools, veteran homes, nursing homes, historical organizations, community organizations, American Legion and VFW Posts.