By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Essays written by four students at Chase County Schools will be forwarded on to district competition in the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen contests.
Sponsored by Imperial’s VFW Post 4688 and VFW Auxiliary, the top three place winners in each contest were announced Sunday night at the annual Veterans Day dinner at the VFW Hall.
Top finishers in the Voice of Democracy contest, open to high school students, were 1st Taylor Wilson, 2nd Michael Musgrove and 3rd Jadin Bussell. Wilson and Musgrove are seniors, while Bussell is a junior.
VFW Post Commander P.J. Pajerski announced cash awards of $75, $50 and $25 will be given to the three VOD winners.
Twenty-nine essays, read by the students on tape, were entered this year and reviewed by five judges, Pajerski said. This year’s essay theme was “My Vision for America.”
In the companion Patriot’s Pen contest, open to grade 6-8 students, essays were submitted from 27 CCS students, said Sue Moore, VFW Auxiliary president.
Gabrielle Krutsinger placed first, MacKenzie Soltis, second, and Ashley Bubak, third. All eighth grade students, they were awarded $50, $35 and $25, respectively. The 2015 theme was “What Freedom Means to Me.”
All three Patriot’s Pen winners and Bussell were present for Sunday’s dinner and read their essays following the meal.
Moore noted that Imperial will be able to send in the first and second place winners from each contest to the district competition. Judging at that level takes place later this month.
Winners at the district level advance to state and possibly nationals.
Pajerski said he was happy to see so many Voice of Democracy entries this year after none came in from CCS in 2014.
Because of that, the Imperial
VFW Post sponsored a student from Sutherland, who won the state contest and went on to finish fourth at nationals, where he won an $11,000 scholarship, Pajerski said.
After listening to the student essays this year, Pajerski said, “We have a lot of good thoughts coming out of our youths.”
In her remarks, Moore, who will be state president next year, noted at this year’s national convention, members of the former auxiliary approved changing their name to VFW Auxiliary (vs. VFW Ladies Auxiliary).
That change means men can now join the auxiliary, she said. The change was prompted by the increasing number of female soldiers returning from service overseas, whose husbands or sons want to be active in a VFW organization.
At the conclusion of the evening, Jadin Bussell was asked to draw the winner of a Husker blanket, for which raffle tickets were sold benefitting Greg Koellner. Rory Jens was the lucky winner.