The First Amendment protects everyone. For instance, imagine a life where you had to say bad things about the Eagles, or bow down to the Cowboys. Thanks to the First Amendment, you don’t have to do either of those things.

Of all the amendments, the First Amendment has the greatest impact on Americans today. It states that you can say what you want (with some exceptions). Also, it says that you can choose what religion you want and you can’t be forced to choose a religion you don’t want to be. Plus, it says that you can petition for anything and not get arrested. The First Amendment says you can protest and not have everybody go to jail. It states that you can write and print what you want.

Freedom of speech is important because it gives us the right to fight for ourselves with our words without getting punished or hurt. It’s important because if we didn’t have freedom of speech, we wouldn’t be able to share our own opinions and think for ourselves. If someone says something like, “I hate the government. It stinks,” they can’t put you in jail or kill you. Unlike when Malala Yousafzai tried to stand up for education for girls in her country and she got shot for it.

Thanks to freedom of speech, we can now say anything we want — including E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!

Freedom of religion is very important because the government can’t force people to be Christian or Catholic or something, like, “Oh, if you don’t convert to Christianity right now, we’ll hang you!” That’s not fair! That’s where freedom of religion comes in. Everybody has the right to practice anything they believe in. It’s up to only yourself what religion you choose to be. You can be Christian, Catholic, pagan, Quaker, Buddhist, atheist, and many more religions. You can even be more than one religion and consider yourself polytheist. Even if you choose to worship the Eagles, no one can tell you that you can’t do that, because the First Amendment says we have the freedom of religion.

Freedom of the press is important because it gives everyone the right to write and publish news and opinions in newspapers and on the internet. Without the freedom of the press, someone could get sent to jail for writing that they think Donald Trump should be impeached. As Americans, we deserve to know important information that could impact us — even if it’s bad news like a hospital is getting destroyed and being replaced by a pool.

The First Amendment gives Americans our most important and basic freedoms. The First Amendment allows us to do the daily things that make us Americans without going to jail. And that’s why it is so important to us.

This essay was adapted from a piece written by Rachael Pinsley’s fifth grade class at Glenwood Elementary in Media as part of the PECO Citizenship Challenge, sponsored by the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Education and the Annenberg Public Policy Center. The class competed against more than 100 schools in the region, which asked students to collaborate on an essay on the most important amendment in the Bill of Rights.