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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow UHS student a finalist in competition


UHS student a finalist in competition

Cory Andrews
Cory Andrews

Cory Andrews’ essay offers optimism about nation’s future

Union High School senior Cory Andrews is proving he has the write stuff.

An essay written by Andrews has been selected as a state finalist in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy contest. 

Andrews’ essay won local and district competitions to reach state.

The title of Andrews’ essay is “Why I’m Optimistic About Our Nation’s Future.”

He wrote the essay for an assignment in a Writing 121 class taught by Union High School English teacher Vivian Matthews. 

“He’s an excellent writer,” Matthews said. “He thinks outside the box. He’ll surprise you. He is always clever and creative.”

Andrews did not expect his essay to be a state finalist.

“A lot of very smart people I know entered the contest. I felt surprised, lucky and honored (after learning he was a state finalist),” Andrews said.

All students in the Writing 121 class were required to write an essay for the Voice of Democracy contest. The class is a college credit course. Students successfully completing it earn credit from the Oregon Institute of Technology.

In the 500-word essay, Andrews makes a distinction between a passive optimist and an active optimist.

“An active optimist does not simply look at the world we live in and say, ‘It could be worse,’” Andrews said. “Instead he says, ‘How do we make it better?’”

Andrews also writes that if an active optimist does not like where America is headed, “he does not march up and down the White House with a crudely painted sign; he runs for office himself.”

Andrews later says in his essay he believes each generation has had more potential for greatness than the last.

“And in my generation, I see the potential for true excellence,” the UHS senior wrote.

Andrews, the son of Dale and Donna Andrews, said the topic for his essay came to him in an instant.

The UHS student then wrote his essay and spent several weeks refining it.

Should Andrews win state, he will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a program where the national winner will be announced. The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship, according to the website www.vfw.org. 

Each year, nearly 40,000 high school students from across the country enter to win a share of the $2.2 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the VFW’s Voice of Democracy program.

The VFW Voice of Democracy program has been conducted annually since 1947. It was established to provide high school students the opportunity to express themselves with regard to democratic ideas and

Entrants in the contest who went on to fame as adults include TV broadcaster Charles Kuralt, according to www.vfw.org. Kuralt, who died in 1997, was a regional Voice of Democracy winner in 1948. He is best remembered for his “On the Road” segments for CBS news programs.

Contact Dick Mason at 541-786-5386 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Dick on Twitter @lgoMason.


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