Norman Public School’s Fifth-Grader Wins Colonial Day Literature Contest
Natalia Alca, a fifth-grader at Truman Elementary School in Norman, has been named winner of the 2023 Colonial Day at the Capitol Literature Contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.
Natalia, 11, was recognized and read her award-winning essay, “What It Means To Be An American,” during Colonial Day at the Capitol on Jan. 27 in the House of Representatives Chamber at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Nearly 500 students participated in the contest.
Ben Franklin, portrayed by historical interpreter Stephen Smith, presented Natalia with a plaque and a $100 prize during Colonial Day opening ceremonies. She also received a citation from her state representative, Jacob Rosecrants, during the ceremony. Natalia wrote about the rights and responsibilities that Americans share as citizens and about her dream of one day becoming president of the United States.
“I am beyond impressed with Natalia’s essay submission,” said her teacher Janet Villani. “It truly reflects the endless possibilities our country offers. I have no doubt Natalia will carry out the hopes and dreams she put in writing. I am so blessed to have her in my class this year!”
Natalia is a member of Truman Elementary School’s GLAMS Club: Girls Learning Agriculture, Math and Science. She is active on the swim team and participates in dance and piano lessons. She is proud to be a Peruvian American who speaks both Spanish and English. Natalia is the daughter of Rebecca Borden Alca and Carlos Alca.
Also recognized at the Colonial Day opening ceremony were three literature contest finalists, who received certificates of merit. They were Mya Blanchard of Eisenhower Elementary in NORMAN; Maximilliano Arellano of Tulakes Elementary, Putnam City Schools, OKLAHOMA CITY; and Michael Glanzer of Cache Elementary School in CACHE.
During Colonial Day, nearly 500 Oklahoma fifth graders traveled back in time to meet historical figures, learn about the daily lives of early Americans, and debate whether the colonies should remain loyal or seek independence from the British crown. Colonial Day is presented by Colonial Williamsburg and George Washington Teacher Institute Alumni in partnership with the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a statewide nonprofit that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in public schools. The program director is Teresa Potter, an instructional coach at Kenneth Cooper Middle School in Putnam City Schools.
The event is also made possible with support from Jami Rhoades Antonisse, Loyd Benson, Diana Brown, Bob Burke, City Bites, Cory’s Audio Visual, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Daughters of the American Revolution: Samuel King Chapter, George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, Lou C. Kerr – The Kerr Foundation Inc., National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in Oklahoma, Polly Nichols, the Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Charles L. Oppenheim, Mattocks Printing, Tara C’s Sweet Treats, Catherine Wootten, and the Wyndham Grand – Oklahoma City Downtown.
(EDITOR: Below is the text of Natalia Alca’s essay, “What It Means To Be An American,” in case you wish to print it.)
What does it mean to be an American? You might have asked yourself that before. If not, I’m here to tell you what I think being an American means. First, being an American means to have the freedom to live the life you want to live. It also means to not have anyone (except your parents if you’re under 18) control it. Finally, being an American means supporting each other no matter what.
For instance, living the life you want means having opportunities. One of the opportunities Americans have would be that girls are able to go to school and are able to pursue any dreams they have. For example, when I grow up, I want to be the president of the United States of America, and because I am able to go to school and get a good education, hopefully I can make this dream become a reality.
As an American, part of living the life you want for yourself means having control of it. That’s why having rights is important. Specifically, I believe that having freedom, the right to free speech, and the ability to make decisions about my health and well-being is essential. These rights are just a few of the examples of living the life you want as an American.
Lastly, being an American means that we support each other no matter what. We do this by being kind; voting for laws and practices that are good for all people; and remembering, respecting and honoring not only the people who lived here before us but the people who are here now. Given that we live in a multicultural and multilingual society, supporting each other is crucial.
In conclusion, being an American is an honor. The opportunities, rights and support we give each other allow us to live the lives we want to live and be a community