Student Awards

Herbert Albright Americanism Essay 2019

The essay contest, open to all public and private schools on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, is named in honor of the late Herbert Albright in recognition of his many contributions to local and civic organizations. This year's essay contest theme in which the students are asked to write is the following based on the example of this year's Heritage of Freedom honoree.


This year's Heritage of Freedom honoree is SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell. In addition to being named the 2018 Satellite Executive of the Year, Shotwell was awarded the AIAA Goddard Astronautics Awards as well as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Ralph Coats Roe Medal. Fortune Magazine placed Shotwell at #42 on their list of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders in 2018 and Forbes named her #70 on their list of Power Women in 2017.

In an interview with, Ms. Shotwell talked about her professional success and attitudes, stating: "There are always a million reasons to not do the hard things, and the key is to get over the reasons to not do the hard things and to go try. Once we decide we are not going to take any risks, we stop moving forward. That's the day you stop and the day you start moving back."

Essay Prompt (Choose one)
Either: Tell a story about how and when you decided to "do the hard thing" in your life and how it helped you move forward.

Or: Write about someone (past or present) whom you admire who decided to "do the hard thing," and how it helped that person move forward.

Rules and Directions:

Essays must be 400 words maximum, typed or handwritten legibly in dark ink, double-spaced on one side of the paper with TWO EXTRA copies. Because we will have three judges simultaneously reading each essay, those essays with fewer than a total of three copies will not be read. The student's name, grade, home telephone number and school must be written on the back, not the front, of each copy.

The format and style to be used should be that of an essay or article to be published in a periodical. Each paper must be the work of ONLY THE SINGLE STUDENT author. They will be judged on the basis of clarity, interest, organization, originality, and knowledge of history and current events.

First, second, and third prizes of $300, $200, and $100 will be awarded in each category (Grades 7/8, 9/10 and 11/12) by Malaga Bank. Awards will be presented at the 4th of July Celebration in Palos Verdes Estates and the three first place essays will be read aloud by their authors.

Teachers are asked to mail their packets of essays directly to the post office box below ("attention Carol Murin"), to be received no later than 3:00 p.m., Friday, May 31. Individual students may also mail their essays to this address by the same deadline. We look forward to reading your essays. Please call me with any questions.

Carol Murin (310) 377-1851

PV Independence Day Committee, PO Box 1182, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274

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