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Gapp, Tappella, McGrath win VFW essay contest

Hastings High School senior Katarina Gapp, Hastings Middle school student Nick McGrath and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School student Mike Tappella are the winners in the annual Hastings Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1210 essay contests.

Gapp won the Voice of Democracy contest and McGrath and Tappella won the Patriot's Pen competitions at the other two schools. They will read their essay as next year's Memorial Day observance.

Kalli Kieffer and Rachel Reamer were selected second and third place winners in the Voice of Democracy contests respectively, and Mandy Mach and Amelia Strauss were second and third place winners respectively at Seton School. Alison Guerts was also a winner at the Hastings Middle School.

The Voice of Democracy contest has been part of the VFW for more than 60 years. Each year, more than 50,000 high school students compete for more than $2.5 million in scholarships and incentives. This year's theme was "Does My Generation Have a Role in America's Future?"

The Voice of Democracy is open to students in grades nine to 12 who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial school.

The Patriot's Pen contest theme was "Does Patriotism Still Matter?" This contest is open to all sixth, seventh and eighth grade students enrolled in public, private and parochial schools.

At Seton School, a total of 76 entries were submitted in the contest.

All winners received cash prizes. The first-place winning essays advance to the district competition.