By Tim Leeds
Marian Buell and Mildred Schneider of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary were in St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church Friday to award the winners of two contests held in the past few months.
McKayla Patterson, a seventh-grader, won both the Youth Essay Contest and the Outstanding Young Volunteer. She was awarded $25 for each contest and her submission for the essay contest will advance to further competition. If she is the winner on the state level, her essay will advance to national competition. The topic for the essay was "What does it mean to be patriotic?"
Kelsey Evans took second in the volunteer contest and Kyler Way took third. Jason Verploegen was second in the essay contest, and Marc Mariani took third. The students were awarded $15 for second and $10 for third in each contest. All of the winners were from St. Jude-Havre Central. Mariani is an eighth-grader, the rest of the winners are in seventh-grade at Havre Central.
Patterson read her essay and list of volunteer activities she submitted for the outstanding volunteer contest, and all three essay winners read their essays to the audience.
Buell, the president of the auxiliary, said that there are many programs they do, but that she thinks the youth programs are some of the best and most important. She said St. Jude's had 33 entries for the essay contest, and 22 entries for the volunteer contest. She said that although the contests were open to all in the VFW Post's area, only one other student entered.
Schneider said that their judges, Judi Dritshulas and Pat Floyd, who are both retired teachers, and Bill Lisenby, a retired Northern professor, said that the essay contest was one of the hardest things they had ever judged because the entries were all of such high and similar quality.
Alma Seidel, a teacher at Havre Central Junior High, who introduced the awards with Therese Cowdery, principal of the schools, said she read about the contests in the paper, and thought it would be a good activity for the students.
"So we had to do it, didn't we," she said. "It was an easy A', wasn't it?"
Buell and Schneider thanked the students for their participation in the contest, and Seidel thanked them for providing the opportunity. She said it's groups like theirs that help make them aware of concepts like patriotism and volunteerism with programs like these.