Terrace Park School student among winners in VFW Essay contest

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Commander Jim Blossey, at right in back row, congratulates the recipients of the VFW student essay program. Front row, from left: Mohuwa Wahid, Makayla Tourtellot, Grace Hettinger, Alessandra Valmonte, Ella Rohrbouth, Becket Talmadge. Back row: Ian Crunkilton, Olivia Olsen and Lara Wahid.
Commander Jim Blossey, at right in back row, congratulates the recipients of the VFW student essay program. Front row, from left: Mohuwa Wahid, Makayla Tourtellot, Grace Hettinger, Alessandra Valmonte, Ella Rohrbouth, Becket Talmadge. Back row: Ian Crunkilton, Olivia Olsen and Lara Wahid.

At its Jan. 9 meeting, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8870 recognized several area students, including a Meadowdale Middle School student, who participated in the Annual National VFW Essay contest. The Post’s student essay competition is coordinated by Fred Apgar, who also serves as Post Chaplain.

The theme for this year’s Youth Essay contest — open to public, private and home-schooled students in grades 3, 4 and 5 –was “What I Can Do to Make Our Country Better.” This year’s winning essay for fourth grade was submitted by Makayla Tourtellot, who is home schooled. Mohuwa Wahid, a student at Picnic Point Elementary School, was runner-up. Makayla was presented with a $100 scholarship from the Post, and Mohuwa received a $25 scholarship.

The 5th grade student winners were from Mukilteo Elementary School and were accompanied by their teachers, Sue Idso and Aina Green. Grace Hettinger placed first ($100) in the competition, and three students — Allessanda Valmonte, Ella Rohrbouth, and Beckett Talmadge — were runners-up ($25 each).

The Post also announced winners in the Patriot’s Pen essay contest, open to middle school students in grades 6, 7 and 8, with the theme, “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans”. The winning entry was submitted by Lara Wahid, a student at Harbour Point Middle School, and she also received a $100 scholarship. Two runners-up were named — Lindsey Lundberg (Meadowdale Middle School) and Ian Crunkilton (Terrace Park K-8 School), each of whom received a $25 scholarship.

Olivia Olsen garnered first-place honors and a $100 scholarship in the Voice of Democracy contest, which is open to high school students in grades 9-12. While the Youth Essay and Patriot’s Pen competition requires a written essay, the Voice of Democracy competition requires the submission of an audio essay. This year’s topic was, “Why Veterans are Important to Our Nation’s History and Future.” Olivia, who had won the two previous Patriot Pen competitions, is a ninth-grade student at Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Prior to the presentation of awards and the reading of the winning entries, the students from Mukilteo Elementary School led the Post members and guests in the Pledge of Allegiance. The winning entries have been forwarded to Washington State VFW for consideration at the district and state levels. More information about Post activities and programs can be obtained by visiting www.vfw8870.org.

– Submitted by Fred Apgar

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