Cathy Gillespie, Me, Janine Turner

Cathy Gillespie, Me, Janine Turner

So, I know it’s a little late to be telling everybody about the trip, but I guess it’s better late than never!

I bet most of you are wondering, “How the heck did she get a free trip to Philly?”, so I should probably start at the very beginning.

It all started with us (me and my mommy) hearing about a wonderful organization called Constituting America, that is all about teaching Americans more about our Constitution, so we can learn more about the principals this country was founded on. Which led to my mom finding out about a contest that they have for kids, with a whole bunch of different categories to enter. This contest is called the “We the People 9*17 Contest” with categories like: Best Poem, Best Speech, Best Song, etc.  and it’s an amazing opportunity for kids anywhere from kindergarten to college age to showcase their talent and express “What the Constitution Means to Me”. The awesome prizes for winning one of the categories was:  A trip to the historic city of Philadelphia, cash prizes, national exposure, and for me, the best weekend of my entire life.

Anyway, I entered the “Best Middle School Song” category,with a brand new and shiny original song. All the while saying to myself  ‘Hey, you never know! Maybe I’ll win’  yet still having that practical  ‘Come on, really? There’s no way…. Out of everybody who entered? I don’t think so.’ attitude that comes from years of never actually winning a contest. And you can imagine my surprise when I got a very exciting call a few weeks later…… (you can hear my song here).

In the blink of an eye I found my self leaving on an airplane with butterflies in my stomach, and a song stuck in my head. (“I’m leavin’ on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…..”) After arriving in Philly I went on my very first cab ride. Woo hoo! (Even though I had to close my eyes when our driver, after missing an exit, decides to back up 500 feet on the shoulder of the freeway, to get on the said exit….. ummm…woo hoo?)

At the Awards Ceremony

The trip was filled with history, hard work, new friends and laughter. Filming from 8:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m. sometimes, enjoying every second of it. (After a long day, my bed at the hotel was really, really comfy) Carriage rides, Philly cheesesteaks (my first one ever), and sessions of Ninja and Bumper-sticker tag (don’t ask), paired up with various other adventures every hour, this trip was definitely the best weekend of my life. All the kids who entered are just amazing and I’m so happy to have met them. Oh, and we will be staying in touch. (Thank God for Facebook!)

I encourage anybody who has the chance to get involved in this, you won’t regret it. You can find the 2011 winning works, and more details on how to enter for next year at:


P.S. I’d like to thank everybody who made the trip to Philadelphia possible: (Please let me know if I forgot anybody and I will edit it immediately, thanks -EK)

Co- Founders Janine Turner and Cathy Gillespie

National Youth Director Julliette Turner

Amanda Hughes

Ang Olschewski

Brandon Vanderford and Art Conway (the two man camera crew)

Caitlin Gillespie

Jake Kauffman

Doug the Camera Guy :)


Bonnie Barns

Also thanks to all the chauffeurs and parents who were absolutely amazing, and to all the people listed above, you guys worked so hard to get everything done and organized, and I’d just like to say thank you for all your efforts and hard work to make it happen. You guys are awesome :)

You can check out lots of pictures on my Facebook page or on Flickr.

Recording with Brandon