State Civics Essay Contest winner from SJNCS

Adriana Zablah, St. John Neumann Catholic School eighth-grader, has been recognized for her leadership initiative by winning first place in Tennessee Secretary of State Office’s Third-Annual Civics Essay Contest.

Adriana recently earned a TNStars 529 College Savings Program $500 scholarship award from Tennessee Secretary of State Office, as well as a trip to the state capitol in the spring.

“I’m really happy and extremely grateful because the scholarship money is really going to help out for my college, and that’s pretty cool,” said Adriana, daughter of Alex and Ana Zablah.

“I really like to write,” she added. “I tend to lean more toward creative writing, so it was really fun to have the opportunity to write an essay.

“I guess what (participating in the contest) means to me is that my essays are good, too, so maybe I can get more into that kind of writing as well and not just limit myself to creative writing.”

While she said she has not chosen a specific college, Adriana indicated she might apply at Duke University.

“I might like to pursue a career in psychology or in the medical field,” she added.

To win, Adriana wrote an essay on “How are you a leader in your community?”

“This contest is held with hopes of encouraging students to be actively engaged citizens now and in the future,” the Secretary of State’s website stated.

“The contest, along with the Student Mock Election, is part of the office’s Civic Engagement Program.”

Students were asked to write about their leadership experience.

“I wrote an essay stating ways that I did that,” Adriana said. “It was for this competition my teacher entered me into.

“When I read the prompt about how to be a leader in your community, I decided (the essay) was going to be a little bit of a challenge to write about it because when you think of leaders, you think of elected officials,” she added.

“I looked back on my life and how I was a leader, and — at home and at school — I did act as a leader sometimes.”

Turning her focus to family, “I basically wrote about, at home, how I’m a mentor to my younger sister, and I teach her and lead her to be an active member of the community,” Adriana said.

“At school, there are lots of ways I can lead — through sports and clubs and extracurricular activities — but the way I lead most at school is by setting an example because I’m a straight-A student,” she added.

“I try to set an example and encourage others.”