The contest is held each year. Submissions are categorized by
grade levels: seventh and eighth, ninth and 10th, and finally 11th
and 12th grades.
Invitations to participate go out to all area schools in
November. Completed essays are turned in to the committee in
Essays are then judged according to writing skills and adherence
to the assigned theme. This year's essay theme was "America's
The judges for the contest were Robert Sullivan, a past president
of the state Jaycee organization, teachers Joe and Janet Haning, and
Schrader said there were 37 entries this year, all from the
seventh- and eighth-grade level, and all were from Carroll Catholic
and Zion Lutheran schools in Lincoln.
The winners of the contest were:
First place --
Melissa Nicole Van, Carroll Catholic.
Second place --
Anna Walters, Zion Lutheran.
Third place -- Hayden Sanborn, Carroll
There were also several honorable mention awards. Those went to
Hannah Cameron, Gage Ealey and Julia Huynh of Carroll Catholic, and
Claire Conrady, Sydney Johnson, Rachel Lockenour, Anna Sielaff,
Lexie Groves and Isabelle Thompson of Zion Lutheran.
Schrader said there are some monetary rewards for winning in the
contest each year, starting at $20 for the first-place winner and on
to $5 for the honorable mentions.
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The first-place essay is entered in the district competition. If
the essay wins on that level, it is submitted for the department
Schrader said the department winners can see a nice amount of money,
from $100 to $200 in the lower classes all the way up to a $1,200
scholarship for junior and senior class winners.
In addition, the state winner will be invited to attend the
American Legion state convention, where they will receive their
award and be asked to read their essay aloud.
Schrader also added that on the local level, this year's
first-place winner; Melissa Nicole Van, will be invited to attend a
local meeting and read her essay to the audience.
[By NILA SMITH