By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
The Licking Memorial VFW Post 6337 Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen Awards Banquet was held Monday evening.
VFW Commander Billie Krewson welcomed the participating students, their families, school faculty, committee members, VFW and Auxiliary members.
Chaplain Ed Folger offered a prayer, and then all were invited to partake in the delicious meal prepared by Auxiliary member Joyous Folger. Roast beef with vegetables, lasagna, chicken alfredo, pulled pork, sides, salads, breads, desserts and beverages were among the offerings.
Students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade are encouraged to participate in Patriot’s Pen, expressing their views on a designated patriotic theme and write an essay. This year’s theme was “How are you inspired by America?”
Patriot’s Pen winners were:
From Raymondville: first place, Makenzie Ferguson; second place, Arianna Shuman, who presented her essay for the attendees; and third place, Savana Evetts.
From Success: first place, Cameron Jones; second place, Kit Benne; third place, Aspen Wade. All participants from Success presented their essays at the banquet.
Patriot’s Pen winners received a cash prize, and in addition, first place winners received dog tags, symbolic of those worn by members of the military, and second and third place winners received key chains.
The Voice of Democracy program is open to students grades nine through 12. An essay and audio submission discoursing on a patriotic theme is required. This year’s theme was, “What are the Greatest Attributes of our Democracy?”
Voice of Democracy winners were:
From Licking: Lillian Godi, who presented her first place essay Monday evening.
Godi stated three key attributes, “First, I would like to begin with equality.” She continued, “A second attribute of democracy is the rights we have in America.” And Godi concluded with a third, “I believe that the freedom America has is a large attribute to our democracy because it is the foundation of our nation.”
From Plato: first place, Nolan Fitzsimmons; second place, Jazzy Beard; third place, Kinsley Jeffery.
Winners received a cash prize for their efforts, and in addition, first place winners received a dog tag and a VOD wristlet; second and third place winners also received dog tags.
The submission deadline for the essay competition was October 31, 2023, and over the course of the fall/winter season, placements were decided.
Supervision for the students was provided by school faculty, which included Erynn Jones, from Plato; Charlene Bever, from Raymondville; and Sharon Greathouse, from Success.
Committee members Harry Brevoort, Ed Folger, Aaron Hall, Susan Brevoort, Hazel Krewson and Adonia Rask did the local judging.
“These young people are the future of our Democracy,” said Krewson. “I am honored to play a part in building our Nation’s future. Let freedom ring through their actions and word.”
The evening closed with all joining together in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Photos by Christy Porter