CHS student wins essay contest with “Save a Life”

The Plumas County League of Women Voters have announced the winner of their 2021 Essay Contest: Ava Lorraine Helling, a junior at Chester High School, is the grand prize winner.

The other three winners are also from Chester High School. They are:

Honorable mention – Jacklyn Zuniga

Honorable mention – Sophia Arredondo


Special Recognition for Creativity – Leah Luther

This year’s topic was: Vaccinations: should they be compulsory? Essays were judged on theme development, originality, clarity, writing technique and manuscript appearance. The grand prize winner received $ 250, including $ 75 for each honorable mention.

Here is the winning essay:

Save a life

By Ava Lorraine Helling

Chester Jr / Sr High School

The story repeats itself. We have seen it over time and we still see it with the controversial subject of vaccinations. Fifty years ago, when vaccinations became mandatory, there was an outcry of protest and resistance around the world. People argued that they had their First Amendment right, their freedom of choice, and did not want the government to take away their freedom. Likewise, it is happening now, even more than fifty years ago. Should vaccinations be compulsory? Should a few snapshots be mandatory? The answer is yes if it saves tens of millions of lives. With the scientific data, quotes from highly respected doctors, and shared ethics among humanity, you will understand why vaccinations should be mandatory.


With statistics from the CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we can conclude that vaccinations actually work. Diseases such as smallpox and polio have a drop in mortality of one hundred percent after the vaccination age, while diseases such as influenza, measles and rubella have a ninety-nine decrease. percent of mortality after the vaccination era. Other common illnesses such as hepatitis have increased from 117,333 deaths to about 24,900 deaths after vaccination. That’s a seventy-nine percent decrease. These data present facts that cannot be refuted; it’s clear and simple, lives are saved every day. Additionally, when forty-nine out of fifty states failed to meet the 92-94 percent herd immunity threshold for pertussis in 2011, an epidemic occurred in 2012 that left more than 40,000 people sick, which makes it one of the most important. epidemics since 1955. It can be seen that with compulsory vaccination in place, people do not get sick and even more people are not infected. Kristen A. Feemster, attending physician and research director at the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia further substantiated this point with the following quote: “Vaccines work by protecting people, but their strength really lies in ability. to protect its neighbors. When there are not enough people vaccinated in a community, we are all at risk… ”It is vital to protect those around us, some people are more vulnerable to diseases than others, and it is now is the time to be selfless.


It is understandable that many people want to make the decision for themselves, have their freedom of choice and not be forced to do something against their free will. But at what cost ? The cost of thousands of lives? Others may argue that it is against their religion. In recent studies, it has been shown that states that allow non-medical exemptions are 2.5 times higher than states that do not allow non-medical exemptions, paving the way for more disease when there is. of ways to eradicate the disease and get infected as a whole. If you have the opportunity to get the vaccine, do it for those who really can’t. Protect yourself and those around you. Save a life.

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