Saratoga Olivia Grace Ralbovsky has been writing for most of her life, but at 11, she’s getting recognized for it earlier than most.
She took first place (and $100) in the local round of the New York State Flag Essay Contest hosted by the Saratoga Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. This is the second year the statewide competition has been held through the Saratoga Chapter.
Ralbovsky entered the contest as an option in her fifth-grade English class at Caroline Street Elementary School in Saratoga Springs.
Many essay contests focus on facts, comparisons or experiences. This contest focused on feelings and asked young writers to express what the flag of the United States of America means to them.
Part of Ralbovsky’s essay reads, “Whenever I look at the American flag I know that my hopes and dreams are greater than anything. When I see the flag standing before me I feel I can make a change ... I think of all the veterans, and important people that did good deeds, people I look up to.”
“I was very proud. …I meant every word in that essay, and it was true and meaningful to me … I was very happy,” she said of her win. Her essay now advances to the state level of the competition.
The contest was offered by the Daughters of the American Revolution to perpetuate the importance of the flag. The overall mission of the nationwide group and the local chapter is to promote history, education, preservation and citizenship.
“The topic on the essay never changes…approximately 50 per year reach statewide judging,” Denise Doring VanBuren, the organization’s state regent.
The Saratoga chapter was formed in 1894, has about 70 members and is one of 131 in the state. It is involved with the community, taking part in 4th of July Celebrations at the Battlefield, for instance, among many other events.