Haila - Fort Collins, Colorado
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: freedom
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I don’t see freedom as birds flying free of a cage or Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves. I see children that are free to wear, say, love, experience life as they choose, no matter where they work, go to school, or play.

It all started to hit me when I was ten years old and in the 4th grade at Saint Joseph’s Catholic School. The school was an environment of about 40 to 50 students per grade. There were about 400 students at the school any given year.

Throughout my experiences over the course of the years I attended St. Joe’s, I made the conclusion that the school was not the best place to be “free”. I did make many friends, but they weren’t “true”. I’m not saying I imagined all my friends, I’m simply saying that my friends, I suppose you could say, were forced upon me. They HAD to be my friend. Because of this, I felt like I knew very little about all of my classmates. Another thought being that some of my peers probably didn’t always really want to be my “best” friend. I believe in the freedom to choose your friends.

“This stuff sucks.” A perfectly fine opinion that we could not say. It might be a little bit disrespectful, but what can I say, life is disrespectful as well. As long as the person you are talking to doesn’t take it offensively, than you should be able to say what you like. Many things weren’t allowed to come out of the mouths of the students. I believe in freedom of speech.

The uniforms! One of the worst problems. I remember sitting in class and every which way I looked, the same colors would meet my eye. That’s a little too much green in one day! Plus it wasn’t even a cool green. It was like a boring forest green. This boring wardrobe made the world that much harder to express our personalities. To me, those clothes were like a contract. Once those clothes are on you, you go by the rules perfectly! Yeah right! I believe in the freedom to dress as you please.

Amen! The word I heard almost everyday. I know, now, that Catholicism would never fit with my personality. I was required to do first communion and first reconciliation. I had to do those two things just because I was baptized into the catholic church. Every Thursday, the class was required to go to adoration where we prayed for an x amount of time, and on Fridays the whole school went to church. An hour long service tends to flip the switch of the children’s minds to the off mode. Everyday of the week, we’d have religion class. I remember having to memorize and recite prayers. That’s pointless words in a formation. The best way to “connect with God” is by the words in your heart, not the words shoved down your throat, or the ones in your head. I believe in the choice of the way you experience your faith.

So if you went to Saint Joseph’s Catholic School, you’d know what to expect. I believe in not just the freedom of speech, friends, dress, and faith, but I believe in freedom over all. It’s your life, and the freedom of your own choices defines who you are.