Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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Student writes his own path to success

Medford Memorial School student Nathaniel Kazunas has a way with words, and it led him to a state competition (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

A self-described writer, Nathaniel Kazunas loves using literary devices, descriptive language and his own knowledge to emphasize his points. The writing he produces has earned him accolades, one of which he hopes will take him to the top in the state.

Nathaniel, along with 18 other students in New Jersey, will attend a banquet on Feb. 8 in Central Jersey where the state’s Patriot’s Pen winner will be announced. This year’s theme, which was decided by the national Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, asked sixth- through eighth-grade students, “What makes America great?”

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Locally, Nathaniel won the Medford VFW Post 7677’s contest and went on to win the district’s as well.

I came up with three ideas (for the essay),” Nathaniel explained. “First was America was so great because of its economy, (second) the government and the third was liberty and freedom. It was all based around the revolutionary concept and the Constitution with ‘We the People.’

He revealed his essay was focused on people and their contributions to society making the country great.

The winning student will move on to represent New Jersey in the national competition in Washington, D.C. to win scholarships to their intended institutions for higher education.

Mom Lisa said she saw Nathan research heavily into changes and improvements people have made in the country tracing as far back as the Revolutionary War.

She added it’s remarkable for her to see her son, who’s in seventh grade, gain recognition for something he’s passionate about. With Nathaniel aiming to attend St. Augustine Preparatory High School, she said she has read his previous work and it has blown her away each time.

He’s got a lot of creative ideas and it’s one of his special gifts that he has, and he comes up with ideas and stuff like that,” Lisa added. “He’s the creative member in our family.

Nathaniel said he has seen people make the country great using one of the oldest rights in the Constitution – protesting. He explained he’s seen protests occur in the form of being vocal about laws protestors have an issue with and voting.

A member of the Medford Boy Scouts Troop No. 20, Nathaniel said he’s been afforded opportunities to give back to the community through cleaning up areas and helping fellow Scouts’ Eagle Scout projects benefiting local organizations.

We not only do it in Scouts, but we do it as a family,” Lisa said. “I think they’ve seen my husband and I both volunteer whether it’s coaching youth teams, teaching CCD at St. Mary. Setting examples on giving back to the community is one of the things we do.”

All writers have favorite words they enjoy reading, reciting or writing down. Nathaniel’s?

Probably ‘enhanced’ because of how it sounds and it writes well,” he said. “I used it in my essay. I said, ‘we the people support enhanced….’ It’s a powerful word.

The seventh-grader credited ominous for being a word that sets the mood of a story.

With the state reception quickly approaching, Nathaniel said he holds no fears on the outcome and is awaiting his time to submit content for the Voices of Democracy, a VFW contest for high school students.

I’m sticking to what I have now,” Nathaniel admitted. “Baby steps, one at a time and when you finally get there, you learn how to walk and go off from there.”

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