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Hamilton students win VFW essay contests

Three Hamilton School District students were named winners in essay contests sponsored by the Sussex Horne-Mudlitz Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post and Ladies Auxiliary. Seventh-grader Corie Spankowski, eighth-grader Erin Welcenbach and freshman Brittany Voeks each were awarded first place for their winning essays.

Spankowski and Welcenbach entered the Patriot’s Pen Essay Writing Contest that asked middle school students to write about “What Service to My Country Means to Me.” Voeks’s essay was chosen in the Voice of Democracy Patriotic Audio Essay Competition for high school students who were asked to record their original essay on the topic of “Celebrating Our Veterans’ Service.”

Sussex VFW Commander Lloyd Olson and local contest co-chairpersons Gloria and Donald Unverrich presented each student with a certificate and $50 prize money.

Patriot’s Pen provides more than 115,000 students in grades 6, 7, and 8 an opportunity to express their views on democracy in a 300-400 word essay. The first-place national winner receives a $10,000 savings bond and all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. Other top national winners each receive savings bonds worth between $1,000 to $10,000.

The Voice of Democracy has been the VFW’s premier scholarship program since 1947. More than 100,000 high school students compete for some $3 million in scholarships. The contest is designed to foster patriotism and allow students to voice their opinion in a three- to five-minute essay. The top winner from each state receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. and the opportunity to compete for national scholarships. The first-place national winner receives a $25,000 scholarship.