Active Blankenship lives citizenship
For Jessica Blankenship, being a good citizen is just part of being a teenager.
The De Soto High School senior was awarded the Good Citizenship award this year from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
"It can turn into a scholarship at the national level," Blankenship said. "I won at the regional level."
Blankenship is hoping to attend Ottawa University next year, depending on scholarship availability.
In order to earn her Good Citizenship award, Blankenship had to be nominated by her teachers. She made an outline of her school activities and what she thought about leadership, citizenship, dependability and patriotism.
"It's important to have respect and support our country," she said. "What really bothers me is at basketball games, they'll play the national them and kids will be goofing off. You should respect our veterans and the sacrifices they've made."
Blankenship wrote an essay about the importance of preserving American patriotism, which had to be supervised by an adult with a two-hour time limit and no computer or dictionary.
"I explained a lot of our American Heritage," she said. "I talked about the sacrifices in the American revolution and what the founding fathers believed."
Blankenship's bigger challenge was listing all of her school activities.
"I've been captain of the volleyball and soccer team," she said. "I've been in StuCo my freshman and junior year, I was on the leadership team for FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) this year."
As part of her service class at DHS, Blankenship is also part of the Teens as Teacher program and mentors students at Starside Elementary School and dreams of being a teacher herself someday.
She is also in the National Honor Society, Future Educators of America and WIN for KC Youth board.
"I want to teach because I just like kids," she said. "I babysit sometimes and I love spending time with them. I'm really thankful for everything my teachers have done for me and I want to do that."
As part of her school involvement, she has also volunteered at Hillside Retirement Home and with Harvesters.
"On Saturdays this winter I helped with kindergarten through third grade camp sessions in basketball," she said. "I was surprised when that counted for community service because it was so much fun."
For her Good Citizenship award, she received a $50 savings bond. She'll find out this summer if she's qualified for further awards.
This weekend, Blankenship also competed in an essay contest for a full-ride Presidential Scholarship to Ottawa University.
"If I get it then there will be full tuition paid," she said. "If not, I'll probably go to JCCC."
Blankenship said she would find out about her Ottawa scholarship in two weeks.
She is the daughter of Tim and Kim Blankenship, De Soto.