A 15-year old freshman at Essex High School freshman is the winner of this year’s State of the Union Essay Contest.

Firdaus Muhammad wrote about Islamaphobia and her experience as a Muslim American in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which happened before she was born.

“My main message was, not to base people off of stereotypes,” said Muhammad. “The U.S. is a very open country, built by immigrants. I don’t think we should be trying to make them scared. They belong here just as every other American belongs here.”

According to Sen. Bernie Sanders office, which sponsors the annual contest, 590 students from 50 Vermont high schools submitted 250-500 word essays on which issues they would prioritize if they were president. Subjects included climate change, gun safety, substance use, immigration, political polarization, higher education and more.

Muhammad will meet with Sanders, and her essay, along with those of the second and third place winners, will be entered into the Congressional Record — the official archive of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Read Muhammad’s entry here.