Advertisement

Students honored by VFW in contests for writing

January 08, 2006|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

alician@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN -

It was a Friday night gathering of area middle- and high-school students.

They weren't at the mall and they weren't talking video games. Rather, the group assembled at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1936 to share thoughts on patriotism and democracy and to foster savings for future education.

The students were honored Friday at a dinner and awards banquet for winners of the VFW's middle school Patriot's Pen and high school Voice of Democracy essay contests.

Glenn Trumpower, post commander and chairman of the local essay and scholarship program, said Post 1936 sponsors students enrolled in public and private schools in Hagerstown, Smithsburg and Boonsboro. Trumpower said contestants who win first place have the opportunity to move on to regional, state and national competitions and to win a scholarship of up to $25,000. This year, seven high-school students and about 40 middle-school students competed locally.

Advertisement

Angeo Belen, an eighth-grader at E. Russell Hicks Middle School, was the first-place winner in the Patriot's Pen contest. Content requirements included writing a 300- to 400-word essay with a theme of "Who Are Today's Patriots?"

Belen, who was awarded a $300 U.S. Savings Bond, said one of his teachers inspired him to participate.

"I was thinking she's a patriot, too," Belen said. "Teachers are mostly overlooked and I felt it was kind of unfair."

Kacey Hughes, also an eighth-grader at E. Russell Hicks, placed third in the program last year. This year, she won second place and a $200 savings bond.

"I like to write," Hughes said.

E. Russell Hicks Principal Roger Stenersen attended the event.

"This is really gratifying for the kids to get rewarded like this. It's great," Stenersen said. "When the kids see this, there is a sense of pride and they see that they can do it, too."

Sarah Johnston, a North Hagerstown High School student, placed first locally and second in the district encompassing Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties in the Voice of Democracy program. Participants submitted typed copies, as well as three- to five-minute cassette recordings of their essays focusing on "How I Demonstrate My Freedom." Judges scored entries based on originality, content and delivery.

In her essay, Johnston, 16, an aspiring journalist and first-time participant in the program, eloquently expressed gratitude for the day-to-day freedoms of chatting with her friends, picking up the newspaper and going to church.

"With paper and ink, I hope to educate and inspire other people," Johnston said. "I'm really grateful for this opportunity and grateful to the veterans, too."

Betsy Warner, 15, a North Hagerstown High School student who placed third in the Voice of Democracy contest, said she heard about the contest from her substitute government teacher.

"I was really excited at the idea of a scholarship or bond opportunity," said Warner, who received a $100 bond.

Trumpower said the VFW essay contest's first national winner in 1947 was television news correspondent and talk show host Charles Kuralt.

Trumpower thanked the parents of this year's local winners for "raising such fine children" and thanked the winners for their work.

"When our judges were listening to the essays, I had to break out a box of Kleenex," Trumpower said. "You showed the judges that you've got a good heart and you know what's going on around you."

Winner of VFW essay contests



The following students were honored Friday night by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1936 for their efforts in the high school Voice of Democracy and middle school Patriot's Pen essay contests.

Voice of Democracy



· First place - Sarah Johnston of North Hagerstown High School, winner of a $300 U.S. Savings Bond.

· Second place - Nicole Malott of South Hagerstown High School, winner of a $200 U.S. Savings Bond.

· Third place - Betsy Warner of North Hagerstown High School, winner of a $100 U.S. Savings Bond.

Patriot's Pen



· First place - Angeo Belen of E. Russell Hicks Middle School, winner of a $300 U.S. Savings Bond.

· Second place - Kacey Hughes of E. Russell Hicks Middle School, winner of a $200 U.S. Savings Bond.

· Third place - Kandis Stoy of Springfield Middle School, winner of a $100 U.S. Savings Bond.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|