Mount Abe’s Aldrich has the ‘write’ stuff

BRISTOL — A Mount Abraham Union High School student placed third in an annual essay contest sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Freshman Will Aldrich won the award for his essay, “Promote Sustainable Development,” in the contest timed to coincide with the president’s annual State of the Union Address to Congress.
For the contest, Vermont high school students are asked to write a 250-500-word essay about their views on the state of the union. President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union at the Capitol on Tuesday evening.
“I wrote about promoting sustainable development — trying to reach out and work with other countries now to safeguard the future,” said Aldrich, 14, who heard about the essay contest from his English and Global Studies teachers, as it aligned with units in those classes.
Aldrich’s piece argued that promoting sustainability would bolster the image of the United States abroad, benefit developing nations, eliminate competition over finite resources and alleviate poverty.
“Promoting sustainable development will help the world make great leaps forward in solving world issues,” Aldrich wrote. “It will do this by helping developing countries develop in economically and environmentally sound ways, improving the image of the U.S. and reducing disputes and fighting over rare resources.”
A panel of five teachers from around the state judged the essays. First-, second- and third-place winners were selected, as well as a group of finalists. Sanders called each of the winners to congratulate them — though Aldrich had no idea this was going to happen. Sanders called Mount Abraham, and Aldrich was hurried out of class.
“I had no idea why I was being rushed down to the office,” Aldrich said. “It was cool because he was actually on the phone; it wasn’t a recorded message.”
Aldrich said the senator congratulated him and said Aldrich’s essay would be published in the Congressional Record, the official transcript of proceedings of Congress. Sanders also invited Aldrich to attend a roundtable discussion Feb. 1 with the other contest winners.
Aldrich said he is not sure if he wants to study sustainable development or a similar topic in college, which is still a ways off, but said he hopes to learn more about the subject in his remaining high school classes.
Outside of class, Aldrich runs cross-country in the fall, which he said was his favorite sport, and runs track for the Eagles in the spring.
This year, 380 students from 26 schools submitted essays to Sanders’ contest. Other Addison County students were lauded for their submissions. Madison Gilley of Mount Abraham and Vergennes Union High School student Emily Martin were selected as finalists.

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