Londonderry High School junior Samuel Breslow is one of 155 American students to earn an English Achievement Award in Writing as part of an annual competition. (Courtesy)
Londonderry student earns national achievement in writing
So when his English teacher suggested he enter a national contest earlier this year, the 17-year-old budding philosopher was hardly at loss for words.
His efforts in the English Achievement Awards in Writing, an annual competition sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English, earned him some impressive accolades.
Breslow is one of 155 American students to earn an achievement award, and is the sole winner from the Granite State.
In his two-part contest entry, he had the chance to tackle some of his favorite topics.
Asked to create his own, personal Mount Rushmore, Breslow selected four famous figures that inspired his life philosophy.
The late British philosopher John Stewart Mills' teachings of liberty, freedom of speech and the happiness principle earned Mills a prominent spot on Breslow's mountain, as did three men that he felt "further embodied those philosophies" - the Dalai Lama, Galileo and Carl Sagan.
"There's the cultural aspects, the scientific aspects and the inspirational and explorational aspects," he said of his other three choices.
Asked to share a sample of his best writing, Breslow wrote an ambitious essay on the politics of presidential courage.
"Sometimes the things that aren't politically popular at the time have proven to be in the public's best interest," Breslow explained, noting his essay uses President John Adams' XYZ Affair and the Vietnam conflict as historical examples.
"President Adams wanted to avoid a war in France, but it probably cost him his second term," Breslow noted. "And Vietnam itself had many political aspects and implications."
A member of the high school debate team, math team and model United Nations, Breslow said he was surprised and humbled to learn he'd won the competition.
He's hoping to study political science at either Tufts University or Brandeis University after he earns his high school diploma next spring.
During the 2008 Presidential Primary, Breslow said he became intensely involved in the political scene, and during the last presidential election, he spent more than 50 hours campaigning for President Obama.
"I'm not old enough to vote yet, but it's still important for everyone to do their part," he said.