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Last month, more than 20 Immokalee high school and middle school girls were presented with the question, “What would it mean to be princess for a day?” Sponsored by the Fifth Third Bank Women’s Network, this essay contest empowered the girls and gave them a chance to express how they would use their time as a princess. Their answers ranged from “finding cures for diseases like cancer” to “making sure that everyone had decent living conditions.”

Though the essay was an educational exercise, the girls’ reward for writing the essay was not purely academic. Recently, the students who submitted entries to the essay contest were invited to see the “Princess Diana: Dresses of Inspiration” exhibit at the von Liebig Art Center in Naples. TIF Executive Director Liz Allbritten said, “Our young ladies walked away with a greater knowledge of who Princess Diana was, and the many lives she touched around the world.”

In particular, the students gained a richer understanding of what it means to give back to your community. “Following this event, many of our young ladies volunteered for Kids Against Hunger,” Liz said. The girls were also treated to afternoon tea, a goody bag of treats, and a pink tiara and sash which read, appropriately, “Princess for a Day.”

Continue on to read the full text of three of the girls’ essays.

Maria Leon, Immokalee Middle School, 7th grade

What would I do to change the world if I was a princess?

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word princess? Some people think of Cinderella, a beautiful young lady with animal friends who help her find true love and lives happily ever after. Others think of spoiled rich girls who party and think of nobody but themselves. To me a princess is a strong independent woman who is selfless and tries to help anyone who needs it. If I was ever a princess I would do everything in my power to try and change the world in many ways. I would put children on top of my priority list. Children are our next generation and if we show them right who knows what they’ll invent. Maybe they will find cures for disease like cancer. Or they will end global warming. There is no limit for them. Children are our futures. Many children die every year of preventable causes like hunger and thirst. Some things we have an abundance of I would like to help to raise money to buy things for them, the basic every day essentials like food, water, or a flu vaccine. I would also like to build more shelters and donate to others. I would also like to help children in their education. To provide books, colors and offer extra help to those who need. Where education is not a privilege, but a right. Where they can achieve their fullest potential and they are not stopped because of the need of money. Of course there are many other problems in our world, but I truly believe that the next generation of kids can be the key to happiness and the end to many of our problems.

Linda Jean-Pierre, Immokalee High School, 10th grade

A Day in the Life of a Princess

In every girl’s life there’s that one time when she dreams, wishes and yearns for that magical day when she will be transformed from an ordinary girl into a fairy princess. A princess has the opportunity and position to empower the world. If I were a princess, my prime target would be the homeless children.

Homeless kids feel like there is no one who cares about them; they feel worthless. Their self-esteem is slim to none. Homeless children have one character trait that is admirable. They appreciate what they have and what they are given. They aren’t wasteful and they are one of the most humble people it is said you could ever meet.

Greed is an uncommon factor amongst them. Their talents are remarkable and just out of this world. As a princess I would start an organization to raise money for homeless kids around the world. I would try to aid them and feed their hunger. Food, water and shelter would be a gift to them. I would raise money to build schools so that they could have an education to understand their environment and to see that the world isn’t all black and white. People do care. To comprehend all the world has to offer and is willing to offer. To not be ignorant of the truth that lies between their eyes. Also as a princess, I would build shelters for the homeless children. Children are the future, so we start shaping them to be what we want them to be when they’re young. Well, some children have to learn to shape their own lives with no light to lead them. As a princess I would want the world to notice the young and the hopeless to see that their own problems are merely a corn in a field compared to that of others. I would want them to not just watch, but to take a stand in such atrocities. My goal as a princess would be to be able to see homeless children not taking a path left by several footprints but to walk a path and leave a trail. There’s a choice we make every day, we’re saving our own lives. So as a fair princess I would make a better day and help to save the life of a child in need.

Jennifer Previlus, Immokalee High School, 9th grade

When one thinks “PRINCESS” they think of castles, crowns, and riches and royalty. A young lady who’s magically beautiful, demanding orders and being served all day long. Someone who can have anything they dream and anything in the world. However, none of those things would matter to me if I were a princess; I wouldn’t have people dropping themselves at my feet. Instead of people serving me I’d be serving the people. I would in fact make sure the people of the land didn’t regret having me as their princess.

First and foremost would be to make sure that everyone had decent living conditions. Humans can’t function properly if they’re living on the streets — they’d go psycho, crazy, it’s just unhealthy! I know families that have nine siblings living in a two-bedroom apartment. You think they want to be living that way? NO, they don’t! But their situation is like many others I know, their parents migrated to the United States for better living conditions and freedom. If you have people migrating to the area for a better life, then my job is to show them a better life. By making more jobs available to them, giving them a chance to go back to school, and making sure the message of how important school is, is getting through to young kids.

All of the above are ways to help the well being of the people. If you have an education it means you can get a good job which means “MONEY.” It would help open doors for them; they would see the world in a different way. I would also make sure everyone has a health insurance plan because the health of the people is precious to me. People tend to die at home due to the fact that they have no money to get the help they need. Some are even afraid because they have no papers and they don’t want to be deported. They shouldn’t have to experience anything in that kind of way yet die in that way! I would most definitely make sure that, that wouldn’t be the cause of anyone’s death.

If I were princess you wouldn’t have to worry about security. I would make sure to have a tight security system. Anyone coming in or leaving the country would be checked or even stripped if that’s what it takes. Tourists wouldn’t get the opportunity to bomb, or drop any toxic/explosive chemicals into the grounds, and I would be sure of it.

Another event that would take place is having monthly meetings with the towns/cities to see how they feel about anything going on or even anything they’d like to change. Because my voice alone doesn’t count, if I’m serving the people it would be nice to know what they want to be served.

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