2006 — 6th Grade - 1st Place

Audrey Berdahl-Baldwin, Minnesota

Hope is more powerful than fear. It has guided people since the beginning of time, and has lit the darkest days. Hope allows us to imagine a better future and fuels our spirit to pursue it, regardless of its chances. Fear can be very powerful, motivating us to avoid pain, risk, and danger. Fear is a defensive human reaction which can often lead people to do things at the expense of others. Hope, on the other hand, is a creative part of the human spirit which can bring out the best in people. Hope can be a spark towards an individual goal or dream, but is also a big part of what inspires powerful ideas that can benefit everyone.

Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech is a great example of hope for a better future. This kind of hope can foster faith and move people to action. Dr. King's "I may not be there with you…" speech, shows us how this kind of hope cannot be defeated even by the death of a person, because the hope is about the greater good. The civil rights movement is a wonderful way to see how the power of hope can shine even in a state of fear, and will bring out the best in people and can make the world better. I hope for a world without war. Even though this has never happened, and is often seen as impossible, many people hope for this and try to live their lives in pursuit of it.

In my life I have spent a lot of time with fear and hope. Six years ago, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite our fear we hoped the cancer would not return, and for three years it did not. The recurrence, which is called, metastasis, meant the cancer was never going to leave completely, and no one that we knew of had lived longer than a year. This situation seemed hopeless, and created a lot of fear. Regardless of the circumstances, we kept on hoping. My mom had eleven surgeries, a broken neck, vision loss, and has nearly died several times. Yet through all of this, she is alive and doing extremely well. Hope does not just help us seek a better future; it helps us love one another now without being overcome by fear. Because of my mom, my family "has a dream" for a cancer-free tomorrow, and not just for us. Hope is more powerful than fear.

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