Essay Contest Winner

June 18, 2019


I have the honor of having a wonderful school named after me. Kay Granger Elementary is located in the Saratoga subdivision of north Fort Worth, opened in 2007, and has remained an exemplary school since its first year.

I am, by nature, an optimistic person and have had amazing opportunities in my life. Serving as mayor of Fort Worth gave me a great look at how community minded individuals can bring about change for good. I saw this firsthand as the city, backed by its police and residents, cut crime by 50 percent and won the All-America City Award for having the highest reduction in crime in the nation.

In Congress, I see public servants work with citizens and elected leaders to protect our health care, economy, lands, and our American way of life.

In 2006, I wrote a book about our nation’s historic leaders called What’s Right About America, as a teaching guide to develop a recognition of who we are in this world and what great leaders have done to remind people about all that the United States has done that is right.

Several years ago, the then-principal of Kay Granger Elementary, Kimmie Etheredge, began an essay contest for graduating fifth graders at the elementary school to write about what they believed was good and right about America. The teaching staff determines the top 10 essays, and I choose the winner from those.

This year, the winner’s essay was so compelling because the author has a very personal view of what is right about our country, because he and his parents migrated here from Pakistan.

Shabbeer Zaki said it beautifully: “My parents are from Pakistan and immigrated from there to Texas. Although they were different with skin color and religion, no one treated them any different. That makes me very grateful because if they were treated unfairly, they would’ve returned back, and I wouldn’t be in the beautiful place I’m in today.

In his words: “I’m proud to be an American, and there is no other country that offers the same opportunities and freedoms that the U.S. provides me.”

He began by quoting from the preamble to our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United State of America.”

From there, Shabbeer discussed the importance of freedom and equality for all people of our great nation and the inspiring efforts of civil rights leaders, especially Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He also described how the protection of our freedoms continues today, “with the help of our doctors, military, firefighters and police, our citizens know they are safe to express themselves knowing they live in a country where all are equal.”

I wanted to share some of this wonderful essay with all of you because it is a reminder we all need. Sometimes it benefits us all to look through the eyes of a child and remember how blessed we are to live in this country.


Kay Granger

Member of Congress