High school essay honorable mentions: How Wikipedia changed my life By Kayla Spitzer

In the middle of my sophomore year, I found myself looking up on Wikipedia this weird underground thing called “atheism.” While I may not remember what led me there, I do remember the growing elation I had skimming each sentence. It was a life-changing experience to have an ideology to back up what I had contemplated for years. Also to know that I am not alone. I wanted so badly to confide in someone about this revelation, but I soon realized that religion is a topic which divides instead of unites us.

While I was not physically bullied for being an atheist, the scrutiny, isolation and lack of resources in the community at large made it feel like I was a victim of a crime much bigger than myself.

Now I know that I can make my impact on the world through participation in a global community of my choosing. I denounce religion because from my perspective it has been a corrupt experience I don’t want to go back to. Today I believe that who I am is a human who values fact over mythology. And that’s not God’s plan.

Kayla Spitzer, 18, graduated from Bentonville High School in Arkansas. She will be attending Northwest Arkansas Community College and plans to transfer to a four-year public university to get a dual degree in broadcast journalism and computer science.

Freedom From Religion Foundation