Little Cypress Junior High students, Bryanna McFarland and Luke Mayeux, were state winners in the annual “Do the Write Thing Program,” which allowed them to be the national ambassadors for the Region V Education Service Center. They also participated in the Texas State Leadership Summit earlier in the summer. Each year seventh and eighth grade students across the nation are given the opportunity to respond to a writing challenge that is sponsored by the National Campaign to Stop Violence. Students write essays that answer the following questions: What are the causes of violence, how has violence affected my life, and what are things that can be done to stop violence. The writing can take whatever form a student chooses. In the Region V area alone, over 1000 essays were submitted. At each level – regional, state, and national – these writings are bound and given to appropriate policy makers.

While in Washington, D.C. the collection of writings of the 60 students participating in the National Summit was placed in the Library of Congress. Luke and Bryanna, along with several other ambassadors, presented anthologies of the students’ writings to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, John Cornyn, Kevin Brady and Ted Poe during their time in D.C. Other highlights of their trip include visits to the Library of Congress, The US Supreme Court, The U.S. Capitol, and recognition dinners at the Kuwait Cultural Center and the Ronald Reagan Building.

The National Campaign to Stop Violence brought in talent from the hip hop world to help students with a performance at the closing dinner that blended parts of several of the students’ papers with choreography and chants. Motivational speakers, 2002 Olympic gold medalist in speed skating and the 2010 US Olympic speed skating coach, Derek Parra and Laurie Strongin, author of Saving Henry, were two of the motivational speakers who addressed the students.

For more information about this program, please visit the state site or the national site