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Hockey Is For Everyone Essay Winners

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
The National Hockey League celebrates February as NHL Diversity month. The 30 NHL Clubs are encouraged to support this initiative by providing unique programming tied into the theme “Hockey Is For Everyone”. To support this league initiative, the Nashville Predators held an essay contest during the months of January and February 2009 for middle school students in Davidson County schools. The 250 words or less essay topic was “What diversity means to me” as part of the Hockey Is For Everyone theme celebrating the NHL Diversity initiative. The winners of the contest received tickets to the Predators vs. Blues game on February 12th, meet and greet with Willie O’Ree, recognition on the band stage, and a post-game meet-and-greet with Nashville Predators players.

Chase Hutson of Meigs Middle Magnet School, Kendale Lark-Burch of Litton Middle School, Julie Nguyen Do of Croft Middle School, and Lilly Patey of Meigs Middle School were the four winners of this year's essay contest.

Left to Right: Willie O'Ree, Kendale Lark-Burch, Joel Ward, Julie Nguyen Do, Chase Hutson, Lilly Patey, Jordin Tootoo

Chase Hutson Kendale Lark-Burch Julie Nguyen Do Lilly Patey
When I think of diversity, I think of all the differences in people. The differences in people can cause disagreements or unity. When people work together and keep an open mind, great things can happen. Different people can get along with others as long as they compromise. When they compromise for a long time they become friends.

A perfect example would be the National Hockey League (NHL). The players come from different countries and often speak different languages. They show diversity to everyone that watches hockey. If the players went on the ice and did not work as a team they would lose every game. The players support each other because they have gotten along and became a great team.

Diversity is where other people from different backgrounds get along to become friends. The Nashville Predators are a great example for diversity because many of the players come from different countries. The players and coaches have become very diverse by learning to overcome the language barriers. They also work hard to connect with the fans young and old. The team works hard to win and have made it to the playoffs before. Hopefully the diversity of the Predators will win them the Stanley Cup.
For me, diversity is just like my mother’s flower garden, filled with roses, tulips, hyacinths and many other flowers. Although all these flowers smell differently, have different color, shape and texture; they are the same. People are just like flowers; they look different, have different color, speak different languages and eat different kinds of food. I enjoy working with my mother in her garden as she plants flowers, cares for them and eventually uses them to decorate our home.

On the outside, people are just like flowers, some people are white while others are black, brown or yellow. However, on the inside they are all alike. They all have family members, laugh when they are happy and cry when they are sad. As much as I enjoy working in mom’s garden, that’s how much I enjoy being with different people.

People use different languages to communicate. In America, most people speak English, but other people speak a different language like Spanish or French. No matter how different the language is, people all understand the language of music. For example, children all over the world know the tune to “Happy Birthday.”

Plants need food to grow. I watch mother as she feeds her plants different kinds of plant food. All over the world, every day people eat different kinds of food. Some people are vegetarians, some are not. Some like sweets and some don’t. No matter how different we are, we all eat food to survive. So for me, diversity is like my mother’s beautiful flower garden, filled with different types of flowers.
Jimmy Carter once said, “We are of course a nation of differences. Those differences don’t make us weak. They’re the source of our strength.” It’s true! We are all different but maybe it’s a good thing. In a dictionary, the definition of diversity is unalike or different. It’s all the various races you see, the holidays being celebrated, and the languages you hear. Diversity is what makes the world go round.

What is diversity to me, you ask? It’s understanding that each and every one of us is extraordinary; accepting everyone for who they are and what wonderful things they are capable of doing. Diversity is putting together our assorted minds and using it to create useful things.

We must find it in our hearts, our minds, and our souls to not only live with diversity, but to make it grow. Be willing to hear both sides of the story. Diversity. You can see it, but can you really feel it?
Diversity means to me that different kinds of people and colors can be together. People should be able to be friends with whoever they want to be friends with. Meet the people they want to meet. It shouldn’t matter if you’re European or Native American or whatever you are. No person is better than any other person. Everybody should be the equal amount as anyone else. The definition of diversity is a point of difference, people who are different mix in with each other. My grandparents who lived before me, as they were growing up they didn’t get a chance to be like me. Now, the world is changing. I have European friends, Native American friends, and you know what, I don’t really care what color or kind of people they are, because they are my friends and I like the way they are. Starting this year we got our very first black president. Im proud of that, too. Many other people are proud, too. I don’t care if he is black, because he is a great president. Yeah maybe we have a different belief or history or color but that doesn’t mean we won't get along. We might not get along, but that might not be just about beliefs and color. Everybody looks different and that’s okay. People just need to remember that this is one country with millions of different kinds of people.
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