Write-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest Finalists and Honorable Mentions

by Henry L. on May 18, 2009

Congratulations to Dominique Pankey of Appomattox, Virginia! She is the winner of the The Gallery Collection’s 1st Annual Write-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest and will experience the adventure of a lifetime by joining the “Foxtrot” fleet for Sail Caribbean’s marine-based environmental service program in the Caribbean. Below is the message that Dominique wrote to President Obama:

Environmental Image 2 - Wind Turbines at SunsetDear Mr. President,

My name is Dominique Pankey. I’m 16 and a junior at Appomattox County High School in beautiful, historic Appomattox, Virginia. As a young person, I am concerned about the issues confronting us today and how they will affect the world I will face as an adult. A very bleak picture is painted in the media and I have to wonder, what will be left for us?

Americans have to face the reality of our energy problem. Alternate energy sources must be explored in order to reduce our dependence on foreign oils. Middle Eastern oil cartels have held Americans “hostage” at the gas pumps and will continue to do so until we take steps to insure our security.

Renewable resources such as wind, solar and bio-fuels could not only take steps towards independence from foreign oil but create much needed “green jobs” to help stimulate our economy. America’s greatest resource is our wonderful, diverse and diligent work force coupled with the brightest scientific minds.

“Green jobs” and renewable energy sources would also reduce our carbon foot-print on the world, providing my generation with opportunities to achieve the American dream and live in a safe, more secure and independent nation. America and its people are leaders in the forefront of this battle. I think now and always we will believe America is the greatest country to live in and I am proud to be an American.

Submitted by Dominique Pankey from Appomattox, VA, a junior at Appomattox County High School


Here are the messages submitted by the 4 other finalists. Visit the honorable mentions page to read the 15 entries that merited special recognition. Job well done to all!

Environmental Image 2 - Wind Turbines at SunsetDear Mr. President,

I read in a recent issue of National Geographic magazine an advertisement which featured the quote, “The biggest impact we can have on our planet is not to have one.” This succinct advertisement truly embodies why we need to go about developing innovations that will offset our wrongs and redevelop our way of living to suit our fragile planet. In 2008, a carbon emissions record was reached with a staggering 8.38 gigatons of carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels alone. The United States and China contributed one third of the total emissions. If you consider that there are approximately 75 million functioning cars between American and Chinese owners, it is reasonable to assume that we use trillions of tons of gas a year. In fact, the United States consumed 7.2 trillion gallons in 2008 alone.

Even though these overwhelming statistics reflect our negligence, new technology and my generation’s innovative tenacity leave me optimistic for Earth’s future. The United States is a leader among countries and its citizens are quickly catching onto environmental issues and becoming more globally astute. One by one, we are beginning to realize the repercussions of our inefficient lifestyles. Thousands of towns across the US, including my own, readily await advances in solar and wind power. Mr. President, inspiring an entire country to recycle and reuse will not only unite us all, but will change Earth’s fate for the better.

Take the lead…we are ready to follow in your non-carbon footprints.

Submitted by Carley DeFranco from Rush, NY, a senior at Rush Henrietta Senior High School


Environmental Image 1 - Earth in HandsDear Mr. President,

Our earth is a precious thing; it is a source of joy, love, sorrow, pain, and inspiration for all of us who live on its surface. Whatever strange and miraculous series of events occurred to create this treasure is finished, leaving Earth and its inhabitants to utilize and respect its wealth of resources. Humans, throughout the ages, have been notorious for only seeing what’s coming in the next few days, rather than looking at the big picture. We’ve drained, abused, and desecrated this land which trusted us so unquestioningly in order to satisfy our unquenchable greed. This lack of conscientiousness will inevitably lead to not only the downfall of our race, but also the fall of this earth.

It’s your job to be the “big picture” guy. You need to realize the flaws in our system, to correct them, and to set a pathway for future leaders to follow. Renewable resources are one of the most effective ways to not only help the environment, but also to create American jobs. The technology for solar panels, geothermal energy, and wind power is there, but not cheap enough for mass marketing and production. If tax cuts were implemented for the use of green technology, green energy could become a profitable and growing market!

I hope it is evident to you that the government needs to refocus on the environment. Our earth is precious and we must protect it. Thank you for your time.

Submitted by Mallory VanMeeter from Lafayette, IN, a senior at freshman at William Henry Harrison High School


Environmental Image 2 - Wind Turbines at SunsetDear President Obama,

Our dependence on foreign oil affects America’s most important issues. It is responsible for our economy, environment, as well as our security. Our ability to cut our addiction to foreign oil will decide our future. The continued use of unclean fossil fuels continues to damage our environment. The billions spent on seemingly cheap oil is more trouble than it is worth. We are handing out billions of dollars to countries that use that same money against us. Should these countries decide to stop the flow of oil to the U.S., our economy would be crippled. It happened in the 1973 Arab Oil embargo. Similar shortages were observed in 1979 and 1991. Do we really need another warning?

Energy Independence through renewable energy is a field that could secure America’s standing in the world. There would be a revival of thousands of jobs in old industries such as the auto industry as well as the creation of thousands of new jobs in new industries of clean, independent, renewable energy: Energy that works alongside the environment, not against it, preserving the place we live for all. Energy independence is necessary for the survival of our nation. Without a reliable source of energy, there is no innovation, no security, no progress. As Americans, history shows that we have and will solve obstacles before us, and energy independence is no different. I believe that energy independence through renewable energy should be one of your top priorities as President.

Submitted by Josef Dagher from Sterling Heights, MI, a junior at Adlia E. Stevenson High School


Environmental Image 1 - Earth in HandsDear President Obama,

Before reading this letter I invite you to look out your window. Just soak in the beauty of the outdoors for a moment, and then imagine what it would be like if it all vanished. Our planet is the greatest resource we as humans possess. It provides us with food to nourish us, water to refresh us, gorgeous landscapes to inspire us, and a breathtaking array of wildlife for us to enjoy. Yes, our planet is wonderful, and it is our duty to take care of it.

Over the past decade, world leaders have finally begun to take notice of our planet’s plight. Together, they say, we can stop the downward spiral and restore our planet; yet factories still spill out black smoke and rivers are still polluted. Now is the time to act; now is the time to save our environment, our home.

Mr. President, I urge you to implement a plan to protect our greatest resource. Wildlife preservation, alternative fuels, wind turbines, and tighter regulations on factories are all good ideas. These resources are at your finger tips; please implement them as soon and strongly as possible. Then there is the next step, of which I am sure you are well aware, seeking beyond the now and finding new sources of energy to protect our environment in the future. Every cent spent is worth it if we can preserve our whole planet, even the grass out your window, for generations to come.

Submitted by Deborah Finnegan from Grand Rapids, MI, a junior at The Potter’s House Christian High School

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Elena August 17, 2009 at 2:52 pm

What a great idea to have a special contest for the youth of our country to make their comments to the President about the environment. I would love to hear the President’s reply. Our dependence on countries that hate us for our source of energy is upsetting. If we were able to spend that money at home on Wind, Solar and other alternate sources to provide our energy needs, we would be in much better shape both economically and environmentally.

Congratulations, Dominique for a well-written, insightful letter. I hope you enjoy your sailing trip in the Caribbean. I also hope that President Obama reads your letter and puts that part of his campaign promises into play. He was elected on the platform of home-grown sources of energy but that promise seems to have gone by the wayside.

The other submissions were also well written. It is encouraging to read the thoughts of the youth of America. I hope that President Obama will add his reply to your blog site.

Elena August 17, 2009 at 2:52 pm

What a great idea to have a special contest for the youth of our country to make their comments to the President about the environment. I would love to hear the President’s reply. Our dependence on countries that hate us for our source of energy is upsetting. If we were able to spend that money at home on Wind, Solar and other alternate sources to provide our energy needs, we would be in much better shape both economically and environmentally.

Congratulations, Dominique for a well-written, insightful letter. I hope you enjoy your sailing trip in the Caribbean. I also hope that President Obama reads your letter and puts that part of his campaign promises into play. He was elected on the platform of home-grown sources of energy but that promise seems to have gone by the wayside.

The other submissions were also well written. It is encouraging to read the thoughts of the youth of America. I hope that President Obama will add his reply to your blog site.

Carol September 29, 2009 at 11:15 am

Wow. These letters to the President are all so well written. It is encouraging to see the youth of our nation so concerned about this nation and its future. There is still great hope for America.

I am sure it was a difficult task to select a winner among so many well stated essays entered.

Congratulations to the finalists and honorable mentions. Job exceptionally done.

Carol September 29, 2009 at 11:15 am

Wow. These letters to the President are all so well written. It is encouraging to see the youth of our nation so concerned about this nation and its future. There is still great hope for America.

I am sure it was a difficult task to select a winner among so many well stated essays entered.

Congratulations to the finalists and honorable mentions. Job exceptionally done.

Katie Ou December 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I thought the letter by Carley DeFranco was excellent, the most inspiring out of all. I wonder why she didn’t win? Not I’m a friend or know her personally, I just thought it seemed more real.

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