Honorable Mentions for the Write-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest

Below are the 15 entries that merited honorable mentions. Visit the finalists page to read the entries submitted by the 5 Write-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest finalists.

Environmental Image 1 - Earth in HandsGreetings Mr. Obama, from Ocean City, New Jersey!

Today, April 22, 2009, I woke up and put on my “Threads for Thought” t-shirt. I
changed my Facebook status to, “Happy Earth Day Everyone!” I drove to school in the rain, observing the infinite amount of trash on the side of the road. When I got to school, I realized everyone was treating it as they would any other day. I was disappointed at how few students knew it was Earth Day. Today I became more aware of the amount of people who do not make environmentally friendly decisions.

Actions that take place now will affect how the earth is in the future, and not enough people are conscious of this. We should definitely make more people aware of what they can do to help the environment. In elementary school I learned the song, “We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands,” and I’ve found it couldn’t be truer. The earth will not destroy itself, but essentially we will be destroying the earth. The earth is our only home, and although it may be fine for us now, what about our kids? I plan on contributing a lot to the world and I don’t want my work to be worthless. You’re doing an incredible job leading the United States of America for the better and now I feel it is time to focus on the world as a whole.

Thank you so much for your time!

Submitted by Megan Bellucci from Petersburg, NJ, a senior at Ocean City High School

Environmental Image 8 - A Bright IdeaDear Mr. President,

I rushed into my third period class and heard you announce, “We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.” Every class that morning had been watching the inauguration. I was particularly proud that you had won because this had been my first time voting. My third period class then spent the whole period discussing what you would do for the country, especially the economic crisis. I was surprised when one of the juniors (we are a mix of juniors and seniors) suggested building nuclear power plants.

We then spent most of the hour arguing the merits of nuclear power, and I was really surprised by how much we knew as a group about the history of nuclear power. In your speech accepting the democratic nomination you said, “I will…find ways to safely harness nuclear power.” Now you are hesitant to comply with your promise. Look at Sweden: three decades ago they placed a ban on building more nuclear power plants, but they have been so energy efficient that the ban was revoked. I believe we have learned from our mistakes with Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Now you are in a position that holds so much power; make America aware of the benefits of nuclear power. Ask the nation if we should attain more nuclear power plants rather than relying on certain areas of the U.S. to be the voice of the nation.

Submitted by Julia Scotland from Kent, WA, a senior at Kentridge High School

Environmental Image 1 - Earth in HandsDear Mr. President,

Throughout the years we’ve lost respect
and left sense of time and retrospect.

We take for granted what we see each day;
the lights come on, then fade away.

Plastic, paper, Styrofoam,
trashing and littering our earthly home.

Cars expending gases, dirt, and pollution,
I believe that we must find a solution.

Our fellow animals, sick and dying,
as a result of our effortless trying.

With air so polluted and water so unclear,
we’ve lost all semblance of the world we held dear.

A grand horrid vision of dark dreary world
with tear-stricken faces of our boys and girls,
who’ve neglected to remember their own obligation
to stop and prevent our earth’s deterioration.

When we see brown instead of green,
it’ll be too late to hurry and clean
what’s left of this world, neglected of care.
How would we live? How shall we fare?

Alternative energy, restrictions on lights,
we’ll all pitch in to do what is right.

Solar cars and pollution, one step at a time,
we can begin to save dime by dime.

We often refer to earth as our homeland,
many times forgetting it’s in our hands.

We should give back Nature what it’s provided,
for us to enjoy, we can’t be divided
with me doing my part and you doing yours,
we can preserve Earth better, I know it, of course!

So I propose, please give Congress a call,
and maybe we can make the world better for all.

Submitted by Vanessa Tran from Arcadia, CA, a senior at Arcadia High School

Environmental Image 9 - American Bald EagleDear President Obama,

In 1984, you were but a political fledgling armed with a political science degree and looking toward Harvard.

In 1984, the Bald Eagle Restoration Project was begun by the Alabama Non-game Wildlife Program / Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, in an attempt to restore Alabama’s nesting eagle population. Bald eagles hadn’t nested in Alabama since 1949.

The majestic bald eagle is now found in Alabama statewide. The ultimate symbol of wildlife, they mate for life and share all nesting and brood-rearing responsibilities. They may live as long as 30 years. Eagle nests are concentrated along rivers and large bodies of water.

The critical need for clean water and undisturbed greenspace habitat is critical to the continued survival of all bald eagles in our country.

In 2009, the Bald Eagle Restoration Project proved highly successful – going from 0 nesting pairs to almost 100.

In 2009, you became our 44th president. Your high office is noted by a proud seal featuring the bald eagle.

I hope that every time you see the Presidential Seal’s bald eagle that you will think of Alabama’s eagles and that their successful reintroduction was accomplished by a powerful partnership of those who cared enough to make the effort.

You spread your wings and flew very high. The continued flight of the bald eagle – representing all of our nation’s wildlife and our awesome responsibility to protect natural habitat and water resources – is a treasure too precious not to protect for future generations.

Submitted by Emmie Mayne from Huntsville, AL, a junior at Randolph School

Environmental Image 1 - Earth in HandsDear Mr. President,

[You] said, “It is time for change.” That is one man’s promise to the world. Imagine what it would mean if everyone did a small part. The outcome would be astronomical. It is one thing to hope for change to happen; however something very different is the feeling of accomplishment you get when you have done your own part. If we have the power to reuse energy, why not use it? This would ensure both our future and the future of this country. It is up to the lowly one to make change. And who are we to not use available resources to make advancement? If a man has the power to go to the moon and back, why can man not fix his own planet?

Submitted by Magdalena Dunn from Houston, TX, a junior at Chavez High School

Environmental Image 5 - Recycle for Planet EarthDear President Obama,

Our world has many things that we as a people can help fix to make it a better world to live in. I would just like to address preserving our energy and protecting the environments in which we live. Scientists are beginning to calculate the length of our survival on earth due to the reduction of our natural resources. Citizens suggest that we should return to inventions that require a minimum of resources rather than continue creating technology that requires a large quantity of energy to use.

Recycling would stretch all of our resources to their full capacity. We’re charging citizens to have proper containers to recycle at home. It should not cost us to help save our planet. I think it would be smart to create materials that use solar power as a main source of energy as some calculators do. We should even create machines with the ability to conserve solar power so that they’re usable during the night as well.

Oil will also soon disappear from existence. If we must use oil, our machinery must be able to run off of earth’s natural resources. For example, corn and peanuts contain oil. It sounds silly but these types of resources are planted and can be used continuously to supply our needs of oil. We need to use what we have and make it work for us. It would reduce what we pay for electricity and gas so we can house and feed our families.

Submitted by Robert Green from Newport News, VA, a freshman at Heritage High School

Environmental Image 6 - Pollution from IndustryDear President Obama,

Why should we use renewable resources? Why should we do anything to save the world? Because we live in it, and if it’s trashed, what would we do? Look at this picture. If we use up all of our resources, the entire planet will look like this. All we’re doing is making it harder for the next generation to survive.

Everyone says that children are the future. If all of the children are sick and all of the needed materials are used up, what kind of future are we looking at? If we used more renewable resources we could possibly save a lot more lives. No one wants the world to go to waste. You were voted into office because people believed that you could make a change. The biggest impact that you can have on everyone’s life is to protect the environment by almost any means necessary.

Our national bird is the graceful bald eagle. If we use up all of our non-renewable resources (coal, things that we have to burn that releases carbon into the air) the bald eagle will cease to exist. They don’t know how to save a planet. We do. What sense would it make in trying to destroy something that we’re also trying to build up?

Mr. President, I believe that you are what America and the world needs right now. By changing a small part of the world by switching resources, the entire world will take notice and follow our example.

Submitted by David Vaughn from Madison, TN, a sophomore at East Literature Magnet High School

Environmental Image 1 - Earth in HandsMr. President, Save the World

Mr. President, as you can see,
I’m holding the world in hands that are clean.
Are they as clean as my parents hands were?
Or has a generation of time some beauty blurred?
Mr. President, I’m counting on you,
To make my world better
More user friendly, too.
Encourage the R’s to make it right –
Reuse, recycle, renew
Make our country an example
Lead with solar light!
Let our forests stand, our deserts take heat
our waters be clear, our mountains have peaks.
Make the decisions that easy are not
Hybrid cars with angry oil company big shots.
Let our scientists be free to put profit aside –
Help them with funds to help our future lives.
Mr. President, convince each one of us it is worth our while
To drink water from the tap
To give landfills a rest for a while.
Please add another R to our wayward ways –
Reduce – our carbon footprints
A little more each day.
Mr. President, you have shown yourself to not be afraid,
To fight for what’s right
In this world today.
Now fight for the world, the very land on which you stand
With your voice, your presence, with laws that demand –
As examples that others will follow until one day,
We can truly and proudly say
The world has been saved.

Submitted by Sam Lurie from New City NY, a senior at Clarkstown High School North

Environmental Image 9 - American Bald EagleDear President Obama,

Global warming, as you are well aware, has, in two hundred years, threatened the very life forms which have taken billions of years to evolve. Our national symbol, the bald eagle, the pride of America, has been affected by this crisis. As the crisis builds, so does the need for change. When all but the mere hope for a better future is available, the opportunity for our success now becomes clear. New technology and advances in science, such as smart grid, alternative energy solutions, and more efficient housing, can have a huge impact on the cessation of global warming. Although these technologies are emerging, in order for us to make a difference, we need to change our habits, whether it is through recycling, efficient transportation, or everyday life style adjustments. We have both gained and lost progress in our struggle with global warming. With your leadership, we can conquer global warming throughout the world as we return health to humanity’s great gift, our earth.

Submitted by Christopher Hoff from Boxborough, MA, a sophomore at Acton Boxborough Regional High School

Environmental Image 6 - Pollution from IndustryDear President Obama,

In your campaign, you spoke of hope and progress. We, as Americans, do not generally think of our natural environment as a source of progress in recent times, but it has always been a source from which we can draw hope and inspiration. Instead of caring for and repaying our natural earth, we are harming it and depleting its resources. If we continue along this route, our children and grandchildren will not have a stable earth with its beautiful landscapes, fertile soils, and natural balances. Where, then, will they draw their hope from? Will smoke clouds and lack of oxygen inspire the mind? You have said yourself, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” If this is true, then we cannot and should not wait. We, as citizens of the greatest nation on earth, should take a stand and begin reforming to use renewable energy and cease the depletion of our earth. Working for a better future should be the top goal of every legislation and politician, as well as the American citizen. If we do not, who will?

Submitted by Briana Bodine from Orange Beach, AL, a sophomore at Gulf Shores High School

Environmental Image 2 - Wind Turbines at Sunset Dear President Obama,

The earth is the most precious commodity that we hold as people. As being such, its care and concern should be a top priority for all people. Every person is capable of contributing to make environmentally friendly decisions to protect our greatest treasure and asset, and as leader of this nation you have the ability to encourage and enforce those environmental decisions. As Belinda Carlisle so eloquently stated, heaven is a place on earth; at least it can be, if we as a nation take one step closer to improve the care and concern we give it. With the use of renewable energy and eco-friendly habits this country can make great leaps to the further protection of our home. Anything that might be thought of as lost with this habit changing decision is made up ten fold in the improvement and health of every person’s first and foremost home. I implore you to take that step towards a healthier earth and set this country on an eco-friendly and eco-happy track.

Thank you.

Submitted by Rachel Aslaksen from Rutledge, PA, a senior at Strath Haven High School

Environmental Image 1 - Earth in HandsDear President Obama,

Everything we love in this world must be cared for, to keep it from being destroyed. The Earth is our home. It is a world that provides for all our needs, giving us the supplies we need to build places to live in, clothes to put on our bodies, and food to eat. Our planet gives us everything we need and in return we need to give back. Many people have forgotten that. They take and take and take, and never think of Earth. Our planet will not last forever. She will not protect us forever, if we do not take some time to take care of her as well as she has taken care of us. We need to protect the Earth, so that it can be healthy for the many generations that are to come. My children, my grandchildren, and their children will want to live on a healthy Earth. I want them to have that. I am just a girl. Not everyone will hear my voice. You are a leader. You speak and people listen. Together, we can all help protect this planet, even from ourselves. We will have to work hard and we cannot give up. Our home is counting on us.

Submitted by Miya Thomas from Lithopolis, OH, a junior at Bloom-Carroll High School

Environmental Image 2 - Wind Turbines at Sunset Dear President Obama,

I have chosen this card design because it reminds me of my hometown, Palmdale, in California. Palmdale is less than seventy miles from Los Angeles, and I have the advantage of seeing beautiful sunrises and sunsets (such as the one in the picture), because the air is very clear where I reside and the visibility is about ten miles for almost every day that it is not precipitating. However, when I travel into the city, I notice a big change in conditions. It seems as if smog has replaced the once-fresh oxygen, and trash grows where plants are supposed to be!

Therefore, I am advocating for the use of renewable energy and for awareness of pollution. The citizens of our country need to pay close attention to not only the global problems, but the many actions they can take that can ultimately decide which direction our future is to take. Some choices are small, such as unplugging a cell phone charger when it is not in use, while others are rather life-changing like purchasing a fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle. A six-pack soda yoke can ensnare and suffocate an animal, and the use of gasoline is steadily adding to the already-large amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

The decision to help protect our planet is ultimately the most rewarding, because it signifies the preference to preserve and shelter the utmost freedom of freedoms: the ability to live. Thank you for your time in reading this.

Submitted by Kaila Sachse from Palmdale, CA, a senior at Palmdale High School

Environmental Image 3 - Swimming with Sea Turtles Dear President Obama,

Rolling, rolling…clunk! The dust-filled can comes to a stop as the sound of metal colliding resonates throughout the never-ending stretch of wasteland. To the left, mountains of decay reach toward the sky; to the right, statues of filth stand as guardians of the land. This vast landfill has become our planet. Garbage has conquered lush fields of vegetation and endless expanses of forestry, and earth is deteriorating because of our merciless activities. Can humans ever live in harmony with the environment?

Since the birth of mankind, earth has provided a nurturing home for the human race. Yet, just like rebellious teenagers, humans have turned against their protector. We have torn irreparable holes in her clothing, which she uses to shield us from ultraviolet rays. We have polluted her lungs, tainting her body with automobile exhaust. Before Mother Nature can have her revenge against her negligent children, we need to take action.

As intelligent creatures, we possess the power to slow down the progressive degeneration of our beloved planet. In this era of machinery, countless avenues of environmental protection lie before us. Solar radiation, hydroelectric power, and geothermal energy are the threads to our future. We cannot rely on oil drilling in Alaska since that will only further anger Mother Nature. By devoting our time to developing alternative energy resources, we can stop depleting earth of its minerals while fulfilling our own technological vision. Eventually, Mother Nature will once again extend her arms and welcome her own children into her embrace.

Submitted by Jessica Wang from Glen Allen, VA, a senior at Mills E. Godwin High School

Environmental Image 1 - Earth in HandsDear Mr. President,

You have now gained the power to change our environmental situation. The earth is a fragile and valuable object that needs our care. Our society today has the power to change advance in technology that will not only benefit the people, but will help better the environment. Change is hard to go through in any kind of situation, but that does not mean that we should give up and allow global warming to continue to advance. America should be the role model, so that the rest of the world can realize the change that everyone needs to go through.

The planet earth is like the human body, if not taken care of it will lose life. A fragile object in the hands of human kind, planet earth, at any moment can give out. We need to gain the cooperation of human kind and raise awareness. Money should be put into technology advancement and items should be tested and approved for environmental safety. So much of the beauty of Earth has already been lost, because of the lack of effort to change it by human kind, why should we continue on to destroy more? So why not stop more natural disasters and problems from continuing on in the future, and start now. People may come from different races, different cultures, and different backgrounds, but we all have the same home and that’s planet earth.

Submitted by Sabreen Shalabi from San Marcos, CA, a senior at Mission Hills High School

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

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