Celebrate America Creative Writing Contest:  


Contact Your Coordinator

Deadline is March 21, 2015.

Watch this video for details.

2014 Winner

By Charlotte Leigh

Carollton School, Coral Gables

He knew there was no hope in his land of fears,

He left behind all sobs and tears,

To start a new life in a brand, new place,

To see if America could solve his case,

He brought his daughters with hearts of gold,

And his wife, who was so very bold,

He wanted America, the land of opportunity

To give his family the gift of immunity

,Away from the place of bomb and hate,

To America, which he felt, would give him a new fate,

He wanted his family to work so hard,

To really go that extra yard,

His daughters had dreams he wanted to make a reality,

But they needed to get away from all the brutality,

They were not allowed to set foot in any schools,

To do that would have broken all the rules,

So he asked the immigration officer: “let me in your country

If you please,

“I’m begging you here, on my knees

“America is a kind land of democracy,

“Away from my land of hypocrisy,

“Everyone should have a right to freedom,

“Everyone should be accepted without reason,

“So for that I say my friend, please let me in and put my miseryto an end.


Ten years past for our family, it’s a different story,

They are settled in America and living in glory,

Their minds have cleared of nightmare past,

They are living their dreams at long last,

The daughters are in college with brains full of knowledge,

One wants to be a teacher, the other wants to be a preacher,

Dad went to night school to become a lawyer,

Mum is working as an apprentice joiner,

Who would have thought this family with such a terrible start

Could live their dream and become extremely smart?

This story could only have happened in the United States,

Where dreams come true without a wait,

We have seen how America can change lives,

And let ambitions thrive,

Every person is truly the same,

No matter what the gender, race or name,

This land of the brave with liberty and justice for all,

No matter how big, no matter how small,

This poem has taught me to live with gratitude,

And have a very positive attitude.


© American Immigration Council 2014


Charlotte, who came to the United States from England as a baby, said “growing up in America has been great even though I know my accent is different.  I am able to get a great education and have made great friends.”  When interviewed asked about what surprised her the most about the United States, Charlotte described how “I was surprised by the way everyone spoke.  Some of the words were different from what I would say.  In England, everyone was patriotic always waving the British flag.  Here, we see lots of different flags.”  Coincidentally, the announcement of Charlotte’s achievement fell on her father’s birthday.  Upon receiving the news, David Leigh said, “It’s my 50th birthday today and the news is the best birthday present I could have asked for.”

Read the 2013 winner's entry here SOUTH FLORIDA IN THE NEWS