2016 Essay Contest – Kiley Hutton

2016 Essay Contest – Kiley Hutton

“What would make this community a better place to live?

By: Kiley Hutton

12th Grade at Westfair Christian Academy

“What would make this community a better place to live and what possibilities

would you suggest to achieve this goal?

Jacksonville, Illinois is a unique town with rich history. I have lived in Jacksonville all of my life. I think that some of us, “Jacksonville natives,” take for granted some of the things that make our city different and special. I often hear people complain about our town and say that they cannot wait until they leave it. I am guilty of saying the same thing myself. What is it about our town that makes teenagers want to leave? What are we missing? What can we do better?

Personally, I believe that one of the biggest issues is that teenagers do not feel that they have a lot of entertainment in Jacksonville. We often say, “What is there to do in Jacksonville on a Friday night? Nothing.” Perhaps we could go see a movie. However, most of us are not willing to fork over seven dollars just to get into the movie before adding in the outrageous price of concessions. We could go to a park, but the majority of the parks have only been updated to accommodate children. Maybe we should go shopping; however, most of the stores close at eight PM. With all of these unsuccessful plans, we will probably decide to go to Wal-Mart and walk around, just to give us something to do. If we are in a big group, the employees will probably ask us to leave. So now we have decided to get some food and by the time we get there, the restaurants will probably already be closed, as most of them close at nine or ten.

So how can we solve this problem? First of all, I think that we should have more opportunities for teenagers to have leisure activities in Jacksonville. I think that it would be beneficial to have lower student prices at the movie theaters. The theaters would obtain more business and teenagers would have a place that they would be more willing to go. I also think that we should have more places for teens to play sports outside of organized activities. The soccer fields in Community Park are a great asset. We should have more places like it where you do not have to pay money to get in. I also believe that we should open new restaurants that are affordable and stay open later. Our stores should also stay open later.

I also think that there should be more opportunities for church youth groups to gather together. I think that it would be beneficial to have organized events where all of the youth groups in Jacksonville can come together and fellowship. It would be a great way to meet new friends and see that there are other people with the same beliefs.

We should also have more opportunities for community service. Many of the schools in Jacksonville require the students to have community service hours each year and we could accomplish great things if we had more opportunities to serve.

Although I do think that we could improve our town, I think that there are a lot of good things about it too. We have made a lot of improvements and continue to open new businesses which make more people want to come to our town. No town is perfect. Teenagers are still going to complain no matter where you go. However, I do believe that we can make our town even greater with small improvements.

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