Guest Column

11-Year-Old Westfield Girl: ‘I Witnessed History in DC’

22146c7e02e49bb282ee_annika.jpg
Annika Vesuna is a student at Edison Intermediate School.
22146c7e02e49bb282ee_annika.jpg

“A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work” — Colin Powell

 This is one of the biggest quotes that inspired me from  my  idol, Colin Powell. I just recently listened to him speak many influential words this past week while I attended the program Envision, for their 2017 Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit. I am here to tell you my experience from the past couple of days.

First of all, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Annika Vesuna, I am 11 years old and am in 6th grade. I live with my mom, dad, sister and puppy.

Sign Up for E-News

My journey began last year when I attended Tamaques Elementary School and was in 5th grade. None of what had happened would have been possible if I hadn’t been placed in Mrs. Truselo’s 5th grade class. She was a phenomenal teacher and pushed me to my limits. She saw that I had a passion for learning and wanted me to be recognized for individuality. As a result, she nominated me to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference by the program Envision, in which was taking place in Washington, D.C over the summer. After some consideration, I decided to take on the opportunity and seize the day.

Once I had completed the program I had received another invitation to go and watch the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. I had also earned a scholarship to watch the inauguration and the peaceful transition of power. At this point I was ecstatic and admired the fact that others saw a light shining bright inside me and wanted to light it even brighter. I immediately replied yes and on Jan. 18, 2017,  I was on the road to Washington, D.C. to watch history being made.

During the inauguration I saw protestors and gained much more of an experience in person than watching off of a television screen. During the course of the program, I was placed into one of the many delegation groups. Mine was known for helping cure the future and the world of tomorrow.

While we were at the conferences we were given a task. The assignment was to come up with a solution to a problem that fit our assigned category, create a two- to four-minute pitch and write a paper arguing our point. We had to present our solution to a small crowd and if we moved forward we would go to the finals.
 

Our group did get the most votes and in the finals we then presented in front of the whole middle school program at EagleBank Arena.

Unfortunately, my team didn’t win and couldn’t receive the prize of our paper being presented to Congress and the President, as well as earning a scholarship to next year’s alumni program. Although we didn’t come in first place we came in as runner up and we were all proud of our achievement.

While the days went by I saw many extraordinary people and heard many extraordinary stories. I personally observed Malala Yousafzai, Ziauddin Yousafzia, Carly Fiorina, Martin O’Mally, Gen. Colin Powell, Spike Lee and Abby Wambach. All of these people are magnificent and set a great example for the next generation of students and future leaders. All of them had many stories to tell and lessons to share.

The one person who really stood out to me out of everyone was Gen. Colin Powell. In my opinion,n he is a great man, with great ideas and a wonderful mindset. He believes that even if you may not be the most educated and you don’t have a very high paying job, you must strive to be the best you can be. If you are a bus driver; be the best bus driver you can be.

Also, he believes that in order to make peace with other countries you must stay in your boundaries. Colin Powell strongly proposes that people should wait a little bit before starting a battle and getting themselves all caught up in the attention with no benefit. In addition, Gen. Powell tried to convey the message that if we all keep worrying about our future we would miss out on tomorrow. Instead, he said worry about tomorrow and  let tomorrow determine your future.

As any human, Gen. Powell has his own opinion on politics, yet he keeps them to himself and stays peaceful which many people in this day and age lack. Personally, I admire him for all of these reasons and I am flattered that I was granted the honor to see him through my own eyes and hear him speak.

I am also charmed that I earned the opportunity to watch history in the making. I will never let such a remarkable moment slip out of my memory for as long as I live. All opinions aside, even though I was crossing my fingers to be in the crowds as the first woman was becoming the next person to sit in the oval office, to me it doesn't matter because it is not about the destination, it is about the journey that gets you there. In other words, it doesn’t matter who was elected president, the only real importance is that I had the opportunity to receive the irreplaceable experience and be a part of the event.

I would like to thank my family who has always supported  me and, most importantly, Mrs. Truselo. Without her, none of this would be possible. Finally, I would like to close with another quote by Gen. Colin Powell: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.”

Annika Vesuna is a student at Edison Intermediate School.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Three School Buses Involved in Crash at Clark's ALJ High School

June 21, 2018

CLARK, NJ — Three buses collided in the Arthur L. Johnson High School parking lot around noon on Thursday in a chain-reaction crash. 

Students were on board at the time, according to Police Chief Pedro Matos. One driver and two students had minor injuries, Matos said.   

According to a Honeywell alert issued by the Clark Public School District, ...

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Meeting on June 19

June 22, 2018

I opened the Board meeting on a somber note, announcing the death of sophomore student Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel.  Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over his death.  We extend our condolences to the Uziel family.  I noted that school counselors are available for all students or staff who may wish to discuss their feelings ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_494009374f5b6e909328_spb-4937_newsletter_june_22

Fri, June 22, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue ...

Sports

Fri, June 22, 7:30 PM

Crossroads, Garwood

Benefit Concert

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Between Park Street and Washington Street, Westfield

Walking Tour: What Makes a Great House and ...

Home & Garden

Westfield Police Blotter: Criminal Mischief to Vehicles Continues & More

June 20, 2018

June 13, 2018 9:24 a.m.

Officer Santangelo arrested Hakan Kaya, age 46, of Westfield, New Jersey on an outstanding warrant (#E19490) in the amount of $304.00 out of Neptune City Municipal Court pursuant to turning himself in at WPD Headquarters. Subject was processed and released after posting the full bail amount.

 

June 13, 2018 11:02 a.m.

Lieutenant McFarlean and Officer ...

Susan G. Komen North Jersey Increases Program Funding by 15% for 2018-2019

June 22, 2018

Susan G. Komen North Jersey announced that it will award a total of 13 grants to 11 local community non-profit organizations in its nine-county service area for 2018-2019, with an increase in total program funding at 15 percent year over year. Since its founding in 1997, Komen North Jersey has awarded nearly $19 million to local community programs in nine North Jersey counties and has ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

Let's Talk About Suicide

In our world today, it seems our children, no matter the town, state, education, family unit, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or religion are grappling with complex, confounding and complicated issues not even fit for a middle-aged adult. Sadly, one of these issues is suicide. With mental health gaining more attention, the stigma appears to be dissipating but when a mental health ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...

Understand the New Law for Paid Sick Leave

Paid sick leave is now the law in New Jersey.

New Jersey has passed a paid sick leave law which preempts paid sick leave ordinances adopted by several cities and towns so there is now one uniform law in this area for New Jersey employers. Here is what you need to know about the new law.

33 Homes Sold June 10 to June 17 in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside & Cranford

Thirty-three Homes sold from June 10 to June 17, 2018, in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside.*

 

TOWN         ADDRESS                      STYLE    ...

Westfield 3rd Graders Receive Top Honors at Mock Trial Competition

Westfield third graders recently received top honors for three mock court cases they presented at the New Jersey Bar Foundation Law Fair.

“I am proud that, out of 84 entries submitted, our third grade students (now fourth graders) in the Gifted Program have won 1st Place, 2nd Place and Honorable Mention in the 3rd Grade category [of the Law Fair ...

Maximizing Your Portfolio’s Returns -- Beware the Taxman

The old adage in the investment world is that it is not what you make, but what you keep that counts.  Investors often overlook the ultimate deflator of portfolio returns – the taxman. An astute global asset allocation should be the number one priority for investors.  However, there are preferred ways to distribute this asset allocation over the spectrum of taxable and ...

Greatness

In honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's (of righteous memory) 24th  Yahrtzeit (anniversary of his passing) this coming Saturday the 16th.

Excerpts from an address given by Nobel-laureate Elie Wiesel on April 7, 1992, at a congressional dinner held in Washington on the occasion of the Rebbe's 90th birthday.

Some of you are aware of my admiration, not only ...

Healthy U Spring Symposium Marks 10 Years of Community Impact

WESTFIELD, NJ — More than 100 Healthy U champions and partners from YMCAs and schools from all over the state gathered at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on May 18 to celebrate 10 years of community impact. Healthy U was also formally presented with the 2017 CATCH® Award for Excellence in State Health. 

CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is the ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

Bridgewater Mall Shut Down for 2 Hours After Fight Breaks Out

June 14, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — No injuries have been reported after a fight involving a crowd of people shut down the Bridgewater Commons Mall for two hours Thursday evening.

According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall was resuming normal business operations.

According to Somerset County ...

Obituaries

Eric Lieberman, 47, of Scotch Plains, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, May 22, 2018 ...
Read more