Three Hampton Bays Seniors Advance in Voice of Democracy Contest

Hampton Bays High School seniors Adem Hadrovic, Victoria Laureano and Kasandra Phillips are extremely optimistic about the future, so much so that they each wrote winning essays for the Voice of Democracy contest on the subject, "Why I'm Optimistic About Our Nation's Future."

In addition to writing them, the three seniors were required to videotape themselves reading their entries, which were mandated to be between three and five minutes. Their entries and those of dozens of other local high school students were judged by members of the VFW Post 5350 in Quogue.

Adem wrote about achieving the American dream, specifically as it relates to immigrants and how they spur the nation. He was inspired by his father, an immigrant from the Balkans. Victoria penned her essay about the heroes in her community and people who are willing to fight for what they believe in. Her grandfather, Mark, was an Army hero. Kasandra wrote about the Common Core requirements and how they translate to military precision. Her father, John, is an active member of the U.S. Coast Guard Station Shinnecock in Hamptons Bays.

The students were informed of their wins earlier in the month, not long after the Nov. 1 submission deadline. The judging criteria for winners are broken down into three areas: originality, content and delivery. Voice of Democracy contest winners earn scholarship money, with the single overall national winner receiving $30,000 to use toward his or her college education.