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2009 Winner, Olivia Chiu

"The American Punch”

By Olivia Chiu

Monterey Hills Elementary School

South Pasadena, California

America arrived at the Annual Society of the United Nations and walked in, seeing other countries dancing and chatting. Instead of discussing important topics, their meetings were always just fun and games. America sat down and drank a cup of punch. Then she chatted with Indonesia until Canada asked her to dance, because they were neighbors. While they were dancing, Canada asked, "Why are you so prosperous?" America thought a little and answered, "Between 1880 and 1920, many people immigrated to me, arriving in the millions. In all, there were 25 million people that came."


"There is no way that there were 25 million immigrants passed through your borders! It is impossible!" cried China, who had been listening. "Impossible!"


"I am like this punch I am drinking, made up of various ingredients. Immigrants from all over the world brought different foods, clothing, and religions. I am proud of the diversity. The exchange of ideas makes everybody more open-minded and accepting. If you walk down one of my busy streets nowadays, you will see many different shops: Chinese, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, all side by side and getting along.


"However, the immigrants brought not only their cultures, but their best talents. I am sure you have heard of these people: Albert Einstein, the greatest scientist in the 20th century, Madeleine Albright, a former secretary of state, Martina Navratilova, world class tennis player, David Ho, a world famous AIDS researcher, Yo-Yo Ma, world famous cellist, and Ang Lee, an internationally known movie director.


"In the early days, the immigrants worked very hard for very little pay. They had all kinds of jobs, from building the great transcontinental railroad to doing laundry. Most Chinese and Irish built the railroad, the Irish on the east coast and the Chinese building on the west coast. Their sacrifices laid the foundation for my prosperity.


"Even today, the immigrants really believed in the American dream, which is that when you work diligently, you become successful. Because of the hard work of the immigrants and this strong belief, many second-generation Americans are successful. Anybody who works industriously can live the American dream. I am very proud of my history of immigration because I now realize that it has made me a prosperous country."


"Looking around the room, America said, "I bet at least one person from all these countries here is in me, America. People came because they thought that I was a country of hope. One person actually said that in America, everything is possible. I was so happy! I am so glad that immigrants came. Now I have a diversified culture and great talents, and hardworking immigrants contributing to my prosperity."


America took a sip of punch. She was done talking. Every country applauded. Soon the music started up again and countries began to have a dancing contest. America danced with Mexico, because they were neighbors, and then when the party was over, Canada walked her home.


"Goodnight, Canada." she said.


"Goodnight." replied Canada.