Free Press / Donna Wassmuth
(L-R) Joe Riener gives the Voice of Democracy speech contest award to Molly Schwartz; Patriot’s Pen essay winner is Makayla Rose; and Becky Higgins is Teacher of the Year K-5 (Prairie Elementary School).
As of Tuesday, November 14, 2017
COTTONWOOD The Richard Jacobs VFW Post 4902, based in Cottonwood is proud to announce this year’s student education award winners. The Voice of Democracy competition is a three to five-minute speech with high school participants in grades nine through twelve. The theme this year was “American History: Our Hope for the Future.”
First-place speech winner is a Prairie high school senior, Molly Schwartz, daughter of Jared and Annmarie Schwartz. Second place is a Summit Academy sophomore, Erin Chmelik, daughter of Jim and Colleen Chmelik. Rounding out the top three is Summit Academy sophomore, Jessie Sonnen, daughter of Norm and Julie Sonnen.
The Patriot’s Pen is a 300 to 400-word essay, written by sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. The theme for the essay was, “America’s Gift to My Generation.” First-place winner is Summit Academy seventh grade student Makayla Rose, daughter of Bo and Amy Rose. The second-place award winner is Prairie Elementary School eighth grade student, Evan Schwartz, son of Jared and Annmarie Schwartz. The final award winner for Patriot’s Pen is Prairie elementary school seventh-grade student, Mary Schwartz, also a daughter of Jared and Annmarie Schwartz. The Schwartz family children won the trifecta this year, with winners in both categories and a first, second, and third-place finish! This year’s Teacher of the Year award in K-5 goes to Becky Higgins of Prairie Elementary School.
This year’s judges, Nancy Uptmor and Naomi Laurino, had the daunting task of sorting and separating the top three from more than 80 essays and 10 speeches. Ferdinand mayor Scott Oliver, and clerk, Angie Riener, provided their council chambers for judging this year’s awards.
The awards were presented at a packed house Saturday evening in Keuterville. Also awarded was the Department of Idaho Lifetime Achievement Award to Dick Remacle. Carrie Nygaard was presented the Richard Jacobs VFW Post Appreciation Award for her support while she was principal of Prairie High School. Joe Riener, Post Commander, read part of a letter of congratulations from Keith E. Harman, VFW Commander-In-Chief, for the Cottonwood Post achieving 100 percent membership, the first in the state this year.
Joe Riener went on to thank the parents, teachers, and students for overwhelming participation again this year. These awards are key criteria for the local VFW post’s All-State standing. He said, “I am proud to have the support of such a great community.”