2000 Mount Rushmore
International Writing Contest
Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln:
Presidents with Visions for America

If they could speak today,
what might they say?

Grades 9-12 Winners

Grade 9

What would they say? (all 4 presidents)

Washington, founder of the USA
would be disgraced by the way we are today.
Violence is up 120%.
Our perfect country has a huge dent.
Old Georgie would probably state,
he'd want again to be a candidate.
But running for president wouldn't be glory and sun,
especially if he was running against Jefferson.
Jefferson's the one who made congress go;
he'd be happy to see how much we know.
He might be upset with all the pollution,
but he'd be glad we evolved from the revolution.
Jefferson may not want to run for president,
but Roosevelt might want to mend the dent.
Roosevelt lead the country strong like Jefferson;
that's why he be disgraced by what our children have done.
He'd probably mention the violence,
and he'd want school prayer to keep anger less dense.
Roosevelt would be hard to run against,
but maybe Lincoln would make voters less tense.
After all, Lincoln always wanted to help the slaves.
He'd be happy that blacks are allowed to express what they say.
If it was important, and I had to choose,
I'd choose Lincoln, because he'd bring our country good news.

Heather Lucille Pappas, Fraser High School, Fraser, Michigan


George Washington Speaks out about the Second Amendment

My fellow countrymen,
The Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, brought into effect on December 15, 1791 states that all Americans have the right to keep and bear arms; and that right shall not be infringed upon. Times have changed and the government is trying to take that right away from us. Back in my time, all men had guns for hunting and relied on them for protection from indians and wild animals. Nowadays, people use guns for sporting purposes rather than protection, but they value them just as much as early settlers did. Such bills as the Brady Bill, are trying to ban guns. Gun activists believe if guns are banned, murderers and other dangerous people will have a harder time getting them and therefore, that will result in less crime being committed. Is it fair that a majority of people should lose their rights because of a few bad people? It is my opinion that if guns are banned or not, criminals will still find some way to get them. Therefore, I still support the Second Amendment 100%!!

Donovan Schoniger, Spearfish High School, Spearfish, SD


Grade 10

"In My Words": (Lincoln)

A few score and many years ago
from stone some faces you all know
they built this monument of four
to honor us forever more
Tis true many a man will see
These faces through out Eternity.
And though greatness comes with no shape or size
You recognize virtue in their eyes
The heart of a nation is won by great men
or broken by a presidents sin.
It is our honor, our duty, our right,
to protect our nation, we shall fight!
But know now the pen is mightier than the sword
and peace by far the greatest reward.
May we all find Peace and harmony
from land to land and sea to sea.
It saddens me to see the fall
of our great nation to violence's call.
In a new millenium I hope for change
and cries of hope not war exchange.
So with one last warning, hear me speak
Be careful friends of what you wreak.

Amber-lee Hightower, Marysville Pilchuck High, Marysville, WA


I am proud: (Washington)

I am glad to stand here today to say just how proud I am. As I look at you all, I know that my hardwark had paid off, that it was worth fighting to our last man to creat the country of which you are part of.The country which is famous for its freedom and uniqueness, where your future lies in your own hands and you can work miracles.And I am even more proud to say how well we, the Americans, have turned out, people of integrity, principle, and most importantly, people who have inherited our love for freedom and justice. It gives me great pleasure to just stand here today and look at you all, and say I am proud, of who I am, who you are, and where I stand.

Crystal Lam, Maryknoll Convent School, Hong Kong


Words spoken by Abraham Lincoln...

"America has undoubtable altered since my departure in 1865. I am exceedingly impressed with the education system of today. Coming from one who's educatione was haphazard, I can vouch for the benefits of a good education. The universities of today are superior to what I had envisioned. The educated will further the success of this great land.

On one hand, I am delighted to say that slavery has indeed been abolished. However, I have observed a new form of slavery. I've noted that many have become "slaves" to careers, to stressful lifestyles and to alcohol. Indeed, the list goes on. Yet unlike the slaves of my time, these "slaves" don't yet realize their bondage. In my day, folk were content to lead simple lives. Now everyone is rushed. There is no time to relax with family or to ponder how we might each improve our community.

With all I have observed, I am glad I lived when I did. It was then that I was best able to serve our nation. Now, I have a question.........how are YOU going to better serve your country?"

Gina Ferguson, Batavia, IL.


Grade 11

Who Built America? (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln)

If in 2000 those presidents awoke,
Opened their eyes and mouths and spoke,

They would trade stories, back and forth,
Of diplomacy, duty, liberty and war.

Jefferson would remind them of how liberty first came,
When his Declaration gave us a nation with a name.

Washington would say it had not been so fast,
That he had fought long and hard with the British and mischance.

Then good old Abe would interrupt to get his credit due,
Showing how he put back together a nation split in two,

And one by one they all would agree that of fame they had their share.
They would speak about the many others who helped our nation with its cares.

Finally they would recognize that the good achieved through many years,
Was owing, not just to them, but to each American's sweat and tears.

Aileen Ann Nielsen, Stuyvesant High School, New York, New York


Roosevelt: A Look at 2000

With a high-pitched voice, jutting jaws, and pounding fists, he speaks:
"Now, faced with the challenges of another century and, indeed, another millenium, the imminent task remains to be the achievement of equal opportunity for all and the common good. Through decades of moderate reform, we have developed into a nation of unequivocal international standing.
Our strong armed forced, especially the navy, together with our diplomatic efforts have enforced the Monroe Doctrine in the past years and sought long-term peace between conflicting forces in the world in areas as diverse of Bosnia and Ireland.
As the 'steward of the people' and a 'trust buster,' I must applaud the federal government's efforts in locating 'bad trusts' and taking steps to dissolve those trusts that are damaging to the welfare of consumers in the recent years.
In regard to conservation, it warms my heart to know that more people than ever are enjoying the great outdoors and are taking steps in preserving nature for our children so that they may enjoy the simple and hardy pastime.
All that we need is to continue to keep our eyes on the stars and our feet on the ground."

Bojun Hu, Hays High School, Hays, Kansas, USA


On the Wings of the Eagle: (Lincoln)

I look across the mountains and see an eagle soaring in the wind. America has risen on the wings of this eagle and the principles of its freedom. As the eagle begins its ascent to the heavens, I observe it holding its bald white head scornfully above all others. The eagle climbs and meets forceful winds that pull at its feathers, nearly bringing it to the ground. It toils against the opposing forces striving to keep the eagle from achieving greatness. With a heart bleeding from the exertion of the struggle, he rises to the open air. As he climbs he loses sight of color and variations in the landscape. He reaches the clouds, his final barrier. Navigating through the storms, the eagle presses onward and upward. Once through the clouds he beholds only the pure white of freedom and equality.

I led brave men in the civil war to protect the unity of a country hardened to racial injustice. They have not died in vain, for as the eagle has risen so has this country, and the lamp of liberty has outshone all doubt that all men are created free and equal.

Lisa Dittmar, Edmonds-Woodway School, Edmonds, Washington, USA


What will become of tomorrow? (Washington)

As we approach the dawn of a new century, I cannot tell you the future, but I can tell you of what I know. It will certainly hold cold winters like the one I spent with my men at Valley Forge. In those times, you will survive only through the strength of the human spirit to unite and create warmth. And just as a warm spring always follows the snow, there will be joyous times for America, when you are bathed in glowing sunshine.
I cannot tell you what to see, but I tell you of what I gaze upon from my vantage point: a splendid melange of peoples and a land of rich natural resources. I hear, above the hustle and bustle of modern technology, and I hope you will also, the voices of humanity. I cannot tell you what to dream, but I can tell you of the visions I hold close to my heart. I dream of a land of freedom and opportunity, where all people are brothers and sisters. What will become of tomorrow and my dreams? Those, I place in the hands of each and every one of you.

Kay Fukunaga, St. Anthony High School, Wailuku, HI, U.S.A.


Grade 12

Roosevelt's Philosophy on Life

If Roosevelt had the power to see,
To look down on you and me,
To gaze upon us from his lofty perch,
To know, to see, to find, to search-
What would he think, what would he do
To find our ethics far too few?
Because in his lifetime, his voice oft ran
"I always believe in going hard at everything!"
Were he alive, I think he would say:
An apathetic life is not the way!
He would encourage the people with extraordinary zeal,
And show them that laziness is their Achilles heel.
He would encourage people to get involved,
Because if they didn't, nothing would be solved!
While on Rushmore, Roosevelt is stone,
We must remember apathy is not something he'd condone,
Let's honor his memory and all of his passion
By living our life in Roosevelt fashion!

Heather Waibel, Desert Christian, Tucson, AZ


Awakening to a Dream Come True (All 4 Presidents)

From their perch on the mount
They watched the seasons pass
They saw the landscape changing
Their country growing wings

Just like the mighty eagle
'Twas born, grew strong, took flight
And now our nation prospers
Beneath majestic light

'Alas the mount is stirring
The faces wake from sleep
They utter... " we have done it"
As stone begins to weep

Ellina Khudisman, Marblehead High School, Marblehead, MA:


World of Pleasures: (All 4 Presidents)

Sitting here I watch
A Nation Decay
Into a world of pleasure and play.

Men sleeping with prostitutes
On defiled sheets.
Fewer and fewer people
Fill the church's rows of seats.

Children play with guns
As if they were toys.
Homes are filled with televisions,
Radios, endless noise.

Love is mistaken for
One-night stands.
Blood covers movie screens
And people clap their hands.

Girls are killing themselves
To achieve the American ideal.
Beauty is plastic surgery, fad diets
Nothing real.

The president thought he'd
Have an affair.
The people smiled and said,
"We don't care."

I'm sitting here watching.
My heart is breaking.
No one is giving.
Everyone's taking.

"Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
For tomorrow we die."
This is what I watch each day
With a sigh.

Where are the morals
In which this country was founded?
Where is the integrity
That once abounded?

Why do people say "I"
And forget about "We"?
Our country is dying
And no one seems to see.

Before America looks at
It's role in society today,
People have to see
Their own country's decay.

Please hear what I'm saying.
Please don't be so blind.
Return to your principles
And hope you will find.

Stephanie Newman, Desert Christian High School, Tucson, Arizona


Washington's Awakening

Upon awaking George Washington, this nation's first true president and the father of the great American legacy, would be astounded at the world that had sprung up around him.
"You mean--man can move other than by foot or carriage?" he would question in disbelief, as the full array of planes, jets, and automobiles that modern society takes as common place was ushered out for his austere approval.
"You mean--this nation dwells both by the light of cities, and in the silent beauty of the countryside?" he would ask, amazed by the population explosion that had occurred since he presided over the land.
"You mean--entertainment is more than a song and dance with supper?" he would say, enthralled by all the options modern man has for having a good time--television and the Internet and music, movies, theater, amusement galore.
That great first president's smile would gap across the broad expanse of his rocky face, impressed and proud. "And the people?" he would inquire. "They are still passionate, discovering, exploring?"
With his affirmation that the nation still sought new intellectual and technological frontiers this revered man would find his satisfaction.
"Ah," he would say, "Tis a fine world, today."

Sally Goodfellow, Dover High School, Dover, Delaware, USA

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