After graduating from IOTC’s American Club U.S. Constitution Course, 16-year-old Hanna Warnick is ready to do something with her new-found knowledge. Miss Warnick sent her essay into the local newspaper to be published but they refused "due to particular political or religious opinions." So we published it here at

 What will I do?

This simple question is one which I was asked to write an essay about, following the completion of the Constitution Course. In all honestly, I have been thinking about this very thing for quite some time now. Doing something requires action; it is not just a thought or intention. It requires movement and follow-through. What will I do now that I know about the American rights which are being pulled out from under us like a rug? What will I do now with the knowledge I obtained of what once was and what we will become if we continue in this direction? Even as young as I am, I can do something.

 One of the first things I can do, and have already begun to do, is to tell others. When I was doing my homework for class, occasionally I would study with my best friend. I would read her some lines from the lectures and tell her of the shocking things that everyone should know about the government. She was taken aback, and asked me the very question which I am writing about: “What can we do about it?” “We can teach others, and tell everyone we know.” That is what I told her, and what I say to you now. Tell strangers and friends alike, and teach whoever will listen. I am considering teaching this very class to teens in my circles, and entering my essays and writing into the local paper. As the future leaders and citizens of our country, teens need to know and care about what is going on in their government.

 The second thing is to be more active in the government. I have heard it said that government belongs to those who show up. If we stand idle, while our rights are stolen from us, how will the government know we care? We need to fight back in every small way possible. In the movie “Finding Nemo” a large fishing net catches a school of fish. Nemo, the main character of the film tells the fish to all swim down as a group. As all the fish swim downwards, their combined weight breaks the net and the fish are once again free. We must do the same. Even simple things such as calling your senators and representatives to give your stance on a piece of legislation can make an impact. In short, no deed done for freedom is ever too small.

 To sum everything up, I will teach all those I can, tell all who will hear, and fight for myself and my fellow Americans. Now that I have learned so much, it is my duty to my country and my peers to do whatever I can do to ensure a free America. Just as importantly as what I can do, however, is what will we do? One person alone may make an impact in their own community, but imagine how much more can be accomplished with many? If we each turn on our beacons to light the way for freedom, then the entire city will be lit.

 - Hanna Warnick