LANSING — Nate Brickner, an eighth-grade student from St. Gerard School, is one of the 10 finalists of the America and Me Essay Contest, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance. His essay placed fourth in the state.
The top 10 essays competed against more than 5,000 other students from more than 400 Michigan junior high and middle schools to win their top positions.
As the winner at St. Gerard School, Brickner’s essay advanced to the state-level competition. As one of the state’s top 10, he also will receive a plaque, a medallion and a cash award of $1,000 at an awards banquet in Lansing in May. He also will attend a Lansing Lugnuts game and a riverboat luncheon aboard the Michigan Princess. Both Ruth Johnson, the secretary of state, and Brian Calley, the lieutenant governor, will be a part of the day.
The essay contest asked Michigan youth to explore their roles in America’s future while focusing on one Michigan hero, someone they know personally who has encouraged them and inspired them to live better and achieve more.
Here is what Brickner wrote:
LETTERS FOR COLLIN
You may not read this because I won’t show it to you unless I do exceptionally well. We have to write an essay at school for a contest. If I get tops in my class, it will get sent in to the statewide judges. I really hope it does so I can show you something as phenomenal as what you always did in school. Anyways, we have to write this essay about our personal Michigan hero. I’m writing about you because you are the one who has inspired me to do everything I can to the best of my ability. I try my hardest to do great because I dream of one day being as talented as you are. I’m procrastinating on this assignment again, sort of like you used to do. I seem to have picked up on that bad habit of yours. I’ll get back to you with the rest of it.
Your brother, Nate
I’ve never really told you this, but you mean the world to me. Other people may not look at you as a hero. They will look at you and see only a smart kid who is athletic. That’s their opinion. Not to say that you aren’t, but you are much more than that to me. For me, you’ve been my inspiration ever since I could walk and talk. Every time you brought home straight A’s or made the game-winning play, it encouraged me to do the same thing, or something even greater. But that’s not all you’ve done for me. You’ve been like a teacher and a coach and are always there when I need advice about anything. But most of all, you’re there. You’ve always been there for me, even through the hardest times. That is the main reason that you are my hero.
Your greatest fan, Nate
Next year, you will be going off to college at Central Michigan University. Since we are four years apart in age, I will be moving on to high school at the same time that you are moving on to college. I will be going to Grand Ledge High School, the same school that you attended this year. It’s going to be strange walking the same halls that you did, especially since you won’t be home very often anymore. But in a way, you will be here with me. You have a special place in my heart that can never go away. It will be very difficult getting used to a new life with you not here every day. But, I’ll do okay. I’ll get through it because you taught me to be strong despite the hardships and to always take on new challenges. Like, when you transferred high schools after your sophomore year. You showed courage through the whole time you were getting used to a new place. Because of that, you have given me the same courage and confidence that I’ll need to get through this transition. I hope you come and visit often, because, honestly, I’m going to miss you buddy. You’re the greatest brother a person could ever have asked for. You’re like a best friend to me.
Your little brother, Nate
You are my hero. You always have been. You always will be.
your little brother, Nate