Eleven students from five area schools, grades 7-12, were selected to present their winning essays Saturday at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall on South Curry Street, as part of the Fleet Reserve Association Sierra Tahoe Branch 137 annual essay contest.
This year, students focused on what Memorial Day means to them. The reserve collected 28 essays overall and were read by a panel of judges to select students from each grade for first, second and third placements.
Although students from Carson High School competed, the winning students are from Carson Valley Middle School, Douglas High School, Faith Christian Academy, South Tahoe High School, and Yerington High School.
Rebecca Miller, a senior at South Tahoe High School, is the first student in quite some time branch 137 announced as a one of the winners from the school. This year was her first to participate.
“I’m proud to be recognized for talking about Memorial Day,” she said. “I appreciate remembering our veterans. It’s what they have done means so much to me.”
First place winners received $100 and will present at regionals, competing against other winners from California, Colorado, and Utah at the FRA West Coast Regional Office.
If a participant’s essay is chosen as a winner during regionals, they advance to the national contest in Washington, D.C. to compete for a $5,000 prize.
The purpose of the essay contest is to challenge the youth to observe and explain what makes America their country. The local FRA hopes to get more schools involved; members deliver letters to area schools for interest.
The contest is open to students in grades 7-12, including home-school students.
“It’s about embracing patriotism and the love for our nation,” said FRA member Rick Athenour. “Civic pride is part of responsibility and that’s why it’s important for us to host these contests.”
Last year, the reserve received 50 essays on the topic of what the United States flag stands for. Topics are chosen at random each year.
“We really cherish our association,” said FRA member and essay chairman Bud Harris. “It makes it worthwhile.”
For more information about the contest, visit fra.org/essay.