VFW post honors student essayists, teacher Don Cox
February 4, 2021
Submitted by VFW Wahkiakum Post 5297
Photos courtesy of Nicci Reese
On January 27 and 28, Veterans of Foreign Wars Wahkiakum Post 5297 presented certificates and cash awards to winners of the 2020 Patriots Pen and Youth Essay contest at the John C. Thomas Middle School and Julius A. Wendt Elementary School.
Working alongside America's youth and instilling a sense of patriotism has always been a VFW priority. Each year VFW posts hold three essay competitions, the Voice of Democracy for grades 9-12, the Patriots Pen for grades 6-8, and the Youth Essay for grades 3-5. Students write essays based on given patriotic themes and the essays are evaluated by members of the local post and community members. Winners of the essay competition are recognized with certificates and cash awards. First place Youth essay winners compete up to the District 16 level. Patriots Pen and Voice of Democracy winners compete up through District 16 and state levels and to the National level.
Post 5297 Commander Bill Tawater and Post 5297 Essay Program Director Bob Roche presented certificates and cash awards to the winners. Due to COVID-19 School Protocols, some winners were awarded in their classrooms. Sixth and seventh grade winners were presented their awards in the Middle School gym. Some winners are home schooled.
The winners were, Youth Essay, third grade: first place, Olivia Johnson - $100; second place, Landen Casey - $50; fourth grade: first place, Konner Reese - $100; second place, Melissa Muldoon - $50; third place, Jett Grangroth - $50; fifth Grade: first place, Ryen Hurley - $100; second place, Shiloh Hoven - $50; third place, Lana Hornback - $50; Patriots Pen, sixth Grade: first place, Hank Wilson - $100; second place, Malia Scott - $75; third place, Matthew Wills - $50; seventh Grade: first place, Brayden Hilton - $100; second place, Camren Mendez - $75; third place, Jason Bachmeier - $50; eighth Grade: first place, Montana Stevens - $100; second place, Levi McClain - $75; third place, Kevin Westcott - $50. Post 5297 will be recognizing with certificates and cash awards the Voice of Democracy winners: first place, Colton Vik - $200 and second place, Kaden Anderson - $100.
Post 5297 will recognize Teacher of the Year Don Cox. He will be presented with a certificate and a cash award of $400.
Post 5297 Winners of the District 16 competition and sent to State are Youth Essay, third Grade, Olivia Johnson - $50; fourth Grade, Konner Reese - $50; Patriots Pen, seventh Grade, Brayden Hilton - $100; Voice of Democracy, Colton Vik - $150; Teacher of the Year, Don Cox - $200. A District 16 awards ceremony will be announced later.
Brayden Hilton, seventh grade, won state and will compete at the national level.