2009 10th GRADE ESSAY CONTEST

Pender County high schooler awarded for essay on county government

Hunter Clemmons, a student at Pender Early College High School, won the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners’ second annual County Government Essay Contest. Clemmons and her 10th grade History teacher, Jonathan Grubbs, each won $500 for Clemmons’ winning essay.

As part of its centennial celebration in 2008, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners started the essay contest for 10th grade students in North Carolina public and charter schools. The topic of the essay is, “How does my county government improve the lives of its citizens?”

Clemmons’ winning essay was chosen from among 166 entries representing 15 different counties and nearly 30 different high schools. Several members of the NCACC Board of Directors and other county commissioners and staff served as judges to help winnow the field down to five finalists. A team of NCACC staff members read the five finalists essays and chose the winner.

“In 2004, the Association Board of Directors adopted five strategic goals to carry us into our second century of existence. One of these goals is to inform and educate the public and the media about county government,” said NCACC Deputy Director Patrice Roesler. “We want to thank Jonathan for encouraging his students to learn more about their county government, and we want to congratulate Hunter for winning the essay contest.”

The Association plans to sponsor the essay contest again in 2010.

How does my county government improve the lives of its citizens?

Many county citizens do not realize the amount of effort their county government puts into improving the lives of their citizens. As a Pender County citizen, I see many ways that my county tries to better the well being of its citizens. They do this through education, health and social services and taking nonobligatory actions. All of this directly affects the lives of the Pender County citizens.

Pender County, initially, helps better the lives and future of the members of the younger generations through the education system. Forty-one percent of Pender County’s income goes to education. In ten years, Pender County has built two high schools, a middle school, an elementary school and started an early college program. Pender Early College is the high school I proudly attend. The county government helps fund our college classes, computers for our county’s schools, and other necessary materials. If Pender County had not participated in these steps to better the education system then the younger generation would not have the ability to excel in today’s economy.

Health and social services are more ways that Pender County attempts to better the welfare of its citizens. Twenty-six percent of Pender County’s income goes to health and social services. This county has numerous clinics along with a hospital that are available to the public. The health departments provide a safer living environment for citizens by removing hazards from the environment and providing immunizations to prevent the spread of illness. They also provide healthcare to citizens who can not afford it. People eligible for food stamps and Medicaid go to the social services office to get them. The outcome of not having these services would be detrimental to all Pender County residents.

In addition to health and social services, Pender County is also providing many services that are not required. To begin with, Pender County provides a public library. Free access to a public library is very important to many people. Our public library has internet access and gives people the chance to read when they otherwise would not be able to. Another nonobligatory service the county government provides is parks and recreational areas. These areas help beautify our county. One final thing that Pender County offers is a special celebration in honor of our veterans. This celebration is important to the citizens because it reaches out to the veterans, letting them know just how much they mean to us. All of the services that Pender County provides make this county very special.

The lives of all of Pender County residents have been greatly impacted by the services provided by the county government. The education, health and social services and the voluntary services provided are among the things that make Pender County a great place to live. I am among several proud members of the Pender County community. Everyone needs to appreciate what their county does to help them because too many people only realize the bad things going on and they fail to acknowledge the good.