Eighth grade students host the 10th annual Most Courageous American Contest
In the eighth grade at Oakcrest, students are tasked with reflecting on loyalty and justice throughout the year as their formation into a “Champion of Freedom and Responsibility” through their grade level experiences.
An annual all-school tradition, the Most Courageous American Tournament challenges students to consider what it means to sacrifice and encounter hardships by learning about the lives of exemplary American heroes. In their United States history class, the students build a bracket with dozens of candidates for the title of “Most Courageous American.” As they take in the lessons learned from each of the candidates’ lives and discover how they faced difficulty and conquered with courage, the students learn lessons of what it means to exemplify strength, honor, commitment, and duty. When only two candidates remain standing for the title of “Most Courageous American,” the class opens the vote to the whole school after delivering their arguments as to why their favorite candidate is most deserving.
This year’s top two candidates for the title of Most Courageous American were Ruby Bridges and Desmond Doss, and the eight graders held their debate on May 18, 2023.
Ruby Bridges is an American civil rights activist who was the first African American student to integrate an all-white elementary school in New Orleans at the young age of six years old. Ruby faced serious discrimination and hardship as she fought to receive the education her parents wanted for her.
Desmond Doss was an U.S. Army corporal combat medic who was awarded the Bronze Star Medal twice for his success in Guam and in the Philippines and who acted to save the lives of 75 men at the Battle of Okinawa, receiving the Medal of Honor for his courage. His story lives on in the film Hacksaw Ridge.
Eighth grade history teacher and class dean Mrs. Andie Salerno said that what she loves most about the Most Courageous American contest is “knowing the girls are seeking the deeper meaning of what it means to be courageous.”
“So often, one defines courage as brave. By the end of the contest however, the girls are able to see courage through many different forms of virtue.”
In a close vote, Desmond Doss was named the 2023 Most Courageous American.