Federal Relations

Bright Spots in Home Schooling

June 11, 2002  

Home Schooler Wins International Diplomacy Essay Contest

At 14, Amber Busha has not expressed much interest in a career involving international diplomacy. Anyone taking a look at her state-winning essay in the U.S. Peace Institute's National Essay Contest however, would suggest she consider it.

Miss Busha, a home schooled student from Winfield, Alabama, won her state's segment of the competition for her work concerning the proper role of the U.S. Military in International Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement Operations. The essay was titled "Securing the Blessings of Liberty for America, or for the World."

Amber's essay did not avoid all potential peacekeeping involvement for our armed forces, but did establish a list of nine criteria by which national security decision-makers should evaluate any such potential deployment. In her crisply-worded essay, Amber reminded the reader that the U.S. military's primary responsibility is to protect U.S. citizens:

The U.S. should limit their global military commitments to key security interests and situations where promoting democracy would be valid endeavors. Although in modern times we are globally interconnected, our primary purpose should still be to '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.'

Amber's mother Nina said she had to talk Amber into participating in the contest, but noted her daughter took it from there.

"We were just ecstatic when we learned she had won," Nina said. "We're from a very rural area, and there are few home schoolers here. The attitude in our area is that (home schoolers) are a little backward, that the kids are lacking in social skills… This just speaks volumes for home schooling."

Amber's winning essay is now being reviewed at the national level, where scholarship prizes for the top three places will be awarded during a June 22-27 awards program. As a state winner, Amber has already been awarded a scholarship, a trip to Washington DC and an invitation to participate in a number of diplomatic activities, including a role-playing simulation designed by the Peace Institute dealing with the problem of Kashmir.

At least two other home schoolers are listed at the Peace Institute's web site as state winners. David Olson of Kansas City won the Missouri segment of the contest for his essay "Peacekeeping for the 21st Century." Madeline Kunsberg of Maplewood, New Jersey won her state's top honor for "Peacekeeping Revisited: Evaluating Peacekeeping as One Form of Military Intervention."

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