Four Grant County students won top honors at the state level for Americanism essays they wrote for an American Legion Auxiliary contest.
Annie Wall, Samantha Floyd, Raney Anderson and Monel Anderson each won first place locally last spring in separate age divisions through John Day’s Ellis Tracy Unit No. 77, before their essays were sent on to the state competition.
Americanism essay contest co-chair Sherry Feiger, who heads the local contest with Jessie Lewis, said she was thrilled to hear the four local students won.
“It’s pretty exciting that this happened, and we’re definitely proud of them,” Feiger said. “I appreciate the teachers who were willing to take this on and for the students to have this opportunity to win.”
The theme for the 2017 contest was: “How Does Learning About Government and our America Help you Become a Future Guardian of the Liberties of Our Country?”
Floyd, who is currently a sophomore at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School, said she was notified of winning a few weeks ago.
“I was honestly just shocked and pleasantly surprised,” she said.
She added the contest “helps bring awareness to our country for people who don’t often take the time to appreciate it.”
Floyd is the daughter of Greg and Joelene Floyd.
Annie Wall, who is now a senior at Yreka High School in Yreka, California, entered the contest while in Elizabeth Shelley’s honors English IV class at Grant Union.
She said not all teachers include the essay as an assignment, and while it’s not an easy task, she said it is a valuable one.
“I think it’s really important that the teachers assign it,” she said. “I think the contest makes students think about the country.”
Wall is the daughter of Carol Faulkner and Bill Wall.
Raney and Monel, daughters of MT and Cori Anderson, were students of Seneca teacher Andrea Ashley when they entered the contest. Now Raney is in seventh grade at Grant Union, and Monel is in fifth grade at Seneca.
Monel said it was fun writing the essay.
“It’s nice that I won, and it’s an honor,” she said.
Raney said she’s participated in the writing contest since third grade.
“I like writing,” she said. “Some topics are hard, but not hard enough that you can’t do them.”
She added, “It’s worth it and nice to get recognized for something you do.”
Seneca head teacher Andrea Combs said every year the students look forward to the Americanism essay.
“(They) put a lot of effort into producing a great piece of writing,” she said. “We are incredibly proud of the hard work of these girls.”
All four students will be awarded a medallion and certificate at an American Legion and Auxiliary meeting this fall in John Day.