The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

VFW announces essay winners


February 28, 2019

From left to right, Danny Eaton, District 16 Commander, Nikki Reese, Principal, J.A. Wendt Elementary/John C. Thomas Middle School and Annie Sullivan, District 16 Auxiliary President. Photo taken by Bill Tawater, Post 5297 Commander.

On Saturday, February 23, Wahkiakum VFW Post 5297 hosted the Veterans of Foreign Wars District 16 Youth Essay Awards Ceremony at the J.A. Wendt Elementary/John C. Thomas Middle School Multi-purpose room.

District 16 is comprised of nine posts based in Raymond, Longview, Centralia, Winlock, Long Beach, Mossyrock, Ryderwood, Toutle Valley, and Cathlamet with a total of 847 members. Wahkiakum Post 5297, based in Cathlamet, has 59 members.

Working alongside America's youth and instilling a sense of patriotism has always been a VFW priority. Each year local VFW posts hold three essay competitions, the Youth Essay for grades 3-5, the Patriot's Pen for grades 6-8, and the Voice of Democracy for grades 9-12. Students write essays based on given patriotic themes and the essays are evaluated by members of each of the local posts. Winners of the essay competitions are recognized with certificates and cash awards. Youth Essay winners compete up to the District 16 level, Patriot's Pen and Voice of Democracy winners compete up through the District 16 and State levels to the National level.

Wahkiakum Post 5297 evaluated 57 Youth essays, 62 Patriots Pen essays, and two Voice of Democracy essays. Sixteen winners were selected from the entire district, of which five were from Wahkiakum County.

District 16 Commander Danny Eaton and District 16 Auxiliary President, Annie Sullivan, and District 16 Essay Chairman Bob Roche, presented certificates and cash awards to winners at the ceremony attended by family and friends of the winners. Pizza and refreshments were served.

The Wahkiakum County winners were Youth Essay, 3rd grade, 2nd place, Joseph Merz; 4th grade, 2nd place, Hank Wilson; 5th grade, 2nd place, Anna Goldinov; Patriot's Pen, 2nd place, Abby Tsybikova; Voice of Democracy, 3rd place, Lucas Brown.

District 16 also recognized their Teacher of the Year, middle school teacher, Eric Hansen. He was presented with an award and cash. Hansen went on to win at the State level and is competing at the National Veteran of Foreign Wars level.

Stephanie Leitz, Principal, Wahkiakum High School and Nikki Reese, Principal, J.A. Wendt Elementary/John C. Thomas Middle School were recognized for the outstanding and dedicated support for the youth essay programs in their respective schools.


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