Americanism Essay winners

Winners of the Americanism essay contest gathered at the American Legion Auxiliary’s Ellis Tracy Unit #77 for a potluck dinner with family and friends. This year’s winners are: front, left to right, Samuel Smith, Keira Stiner, Eliza Bailey and Mason Benge; middle row, Money Anderson, Sarah Smith, Amelia Hall, Madelyn Bailey and Jueun Park; back row, Max Bailey, Mason Morris, Maverick Miller, Emily Springer, Taylor Allen and Mya Kilby. Alici Archibald, not pictured, was also among the winners.

Americanism Essay Chairman Sherry Feiger said the entries in this year’s writing contest were thoughtful as students in grades 3-12 answered the question: “How can we address and prevent veteran homelessness in our communities?”

The local contest is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary Ellis Tracy Unit 77.

Feiger said this year’s theme was different from any over the past couple years.

“(It’s) a social issue that affects us all and so many communities,” she said.

There were 113 entries in all, and Feiger said she was grateful that teachers took the time to include the essay contest as part of their class instruction.

Students winning first, second or third place in their divisions were invited to read their essays for friends and family at a potluck dinner in March at Alec Gay Hall in John Day.

She said she was impressed by the empathy the students had for the veterans’ situation and the wide range of ideas on how to assist them.

“Some were eager to help with food and money,” she said. “Others wanted to find a way to give them life skills and means to heal any illness they had.”

“Veterans served our country so now we should serve and help them, just as they did for us,” wrote Humbolt Elementary fourth-grader Keira Stiner.

Humbolt sixth-grader Madelyn Bailey said, “Sometimes everyone needs encouragement. ... We could promote this by having successful veterans mentor those that struggle” to “show them ways to overcome obstacles.”

Mya Kilby in the grade 11-12 division said, “War will always be one of those things that nobody really wants to do, but some brave people do it to keep us safe and they should be able to rely on us to help them when they get back.”

The first-place winning essays have advanced to state for judging.

2019 essay contest winners

Division I (grades 3-4)

First, Keira Stiner, Humbolt, teacher Joan Walczyk

Second, Samuel Smith, Seneca, Andrea Ashley

Third, Eliza Bailey, Humbolt, Joan Walczyk

Division II (grades 5-6)

First, Madelyn Bailey, Humbolt, Georgia Boethin

Second, Monel Anderson, Seneca, Andrea Ashley

Second, Sarah Smith, Seneca, Andrea Ashley

Third, Mason Benge, Humbolt, Georgia Boethin

Division III (grades 7-8)

First, Max Bailey, Grant Union, Angela Smith

Second, Amelia Hall, Grant Union, Angela Smith

Third, Alici Archibald, Grant Union, Angela Smith

Division IV (grades 9-10)

First, Mason Morris, Grant Union, Angela Smith

Second, Soren Caudill, Grant Union, Jessica Lane

Third, Maverick Miller, Grant Union, Angela Smith

Division V (grades 11-12)

First, Mya Kilby, Grant Union, Jessica Lane

Second, Taylor Allen, Grant Union, Jessica Lane

Third, Emily Springer, Grant Union, Jessica Lane

Special recognition

Jueun Park, GU Jr/Sr High, Angela Smith

Angel Carpenter is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. She can be contacted at or 541-575-0710.

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