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State Essay Contest Winner

Please join us in congratulating Ms. Arie as the 2022 Florida Missing Children's Day State Essay Contest Winner.  Ms. Arie's state winning essay is below. The essay contest is open to all 5th grade students in Florida. Information regarding the essays are generally sent to the schools in December and the essay deadline is in March. For more information regarding the essay contest, please contact

Girl Playing with Tablet

This is How I Stay Safe All Day
Have you ever thought about all the worries that kids have? There are the little worries: tests, having to clean their room, friends, and more. Then there are the bigger worries: Kidnappers, human traffickers, and blackmailers are only a few of  the different frets. If kids practice ways to stay safe, like martial arts, being aware of their surroundings, and giving out personal information, kids will be safer. Children will be better prepared for dangerous situations if they know how to take care of themselves. 

 Self-defense is important because it helps people avoid conflicts and kidnappers. A person who is trained to defend him or herself would only need to fight when they really needed to. For example, a kid that knows how to defend himself or herself would be able to get out of a situation where a kidnapper was trying to take them. Self-defense helps with mental and physical health. It clears the mind and body. If a person tries to hurt a child, the child will have a clear mind for getting away. A child feeling threatened by an unpleasant person would be at their full strength for defending himself or herself.

It is important to know what is going on in your neighborhood. A person that is very aware of their surroundings would be able to see changes in the environment and different people. Once I heard a story of a person that was shopping. Walking around the store, she noticed that someone was following her. The lady walked around more, and the person kept following. So, she went to a cashier at the checkout counter and asked for security to escort her out. When she walked out, she saw the man behind her car with a van. If the lady hadn't asked to be escorted out, then something bad could have happened. This story shows that it is good to be aware of your surroundings at all times. All places are good places to be cautious and careful.  

Sometimes, people are too trusting. Some people that are on the internet want to make other people do inappropriate things. Blackmailers are people to look out for. They convince people to send them personal information like inappropriate photos and then force them to send  worse ones, otherwise all the personal pictures would be sent out into the world. But the inappropriate photos are sent out anyway. My mom once told me a story of a kid that played online a lot. The kid trusted a person who pretended that he was the same age as the kid. The two never met. Then the person, a blackmailer, convinced the kid to send an inappropriate photo of himself. The person then used the photo to blackmail the kid. This went on for over a year until someone found out. The boy’s life was never the same. It will take a long time for this kid to feel safe again. The moral of this story is that no matter how much you trust someone, some information is best to not be shared. This will keep everyone safe and out of danger. 

The world is not always the best place. Make the right choices on people to trust with information. It is important that, no matter who it is that is being trusted, don't send inappropriate things to other people. Be aware of your surroundings. Be careful of who and what is around at all times. Practice self defense. It can help in unsafe situations. These things will help on the long and sometimes dangerous journey through life. Blackmailers, human traffickers, and kidnappers are important people to look out for. Be ready for the big worries so you can get back to the smaller ones like friends, tests, and if someone canceled your favorite tv show. Stay safe from people who want to harm others. The world can be dangerous, so be careful in it. 

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