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Finalists announced in VFW essay contests

Several students from Hastings High School participated in the 2016 Voice of Democracy contest this year. Students who submitted audio essays are pictured here. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Pictured, from left, are Evelyn Sellars, Jerilyn Stark, Nolan Myers, Dean Markuson, Ryan Sellars and Lauren Dohmen at SEAS. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

Each year, students in Hastings public and homes-based schools enter the Hastings VFW Post 1210 patriotic youth essay competition. This provides them with an opportunity to express their ideas and principles on freedom and democracy.

“This program has been popular with the students and we are proud to keep offering it within the district,” said Commander Louis J. Plevell.

This year’s Voice of Democracy theme asked students to explain “My Responsibility to America.” The Voice of Democracy scholarship competition is a three- to five-minute audio essay competition open to students in grades 9-12. The national winner will receive a $1,000 through $30,000 “T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship Award,” paid directly to the recipient’s university, college or vocational/technical school and a trip to Washington, D.C.

The community winners are Rebecca N. Schill; Carli R. Bernard; Keean R. LaFerriere, Amy H. Roach and Claire E. Ketcham. Schill will advance to the VFW Minnesota Second District Competition.

The Patriot’s Pen competition is open to students in sixth through eighth grade.This year, students were invited to write a 300- to 400-word essay reflecting on the statement, “The American I Believe In.” At the national level, prizes range from $500 thorough $5,000.

Hastings Middle School winners are eighth-graders Cheridan J. Welch; Anna R. McCabe and Grace E. McGinnis; seventh-grader Emma K. McNamara; and sixth-grader Nicholas M. Wenisch.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School winners are eighth-graders Nolan J. Myers, Ryan M. Sellars and Lauren M. Dohmen; and sixth-graders Jerilyn M. Stark and Elelyn R. Sellars.

St. John the Baptist Catholic School-Vermillion winners are sixth-graders Billy Wilson and Abby E. Strommen.

Krehbiel Family Academy winner is seventh-grader Samuel E. Krehbiel. Samuel will advance to the VFW Minnesota Second District Competition and speak at the Community's Memorial Day observance on May 29, 2017.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a non-profit veterans’ organization from the active and reserve forces. Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is the nation’s largest and oldest organization of combat war veterans, with nearly two million VFW and Auxiliary members in more than 7,000 Post worldwide. Lyle Russell VFW Post 1210 and Auxiliary have a proud tradition of supporting local veterans and the community of Hastings since 1929.