By Ron VandenBoom
It was a tough decision for the nine judges that browsed through dozens of essays Tuesday trying to pick the winners of the Hometown Trees Essay Contest, but two students finally emerged as victors naming the weeping willow and the maple as the two best loved trees.
Rebecca Wolcott, a eighth-grade student in Jackie Jager's class at Havre Christian School west of Havre, and George Sutherland, a second-grade student of Judy Ireland at Lincoln McKinley School, submitted the winning essays.
First prize for each of the winners will be a pizza party for their class. Parties are scheduled for Wolcott on Jan. 29, and for Sutherland on Jan. 30.
The contest is sponsored annually by Gary and Leo's IGA, Coca Cola, and Louisiana-Pacific who also sponsors the Hometown Trees Coloring Contest and a tree seedling give-away in the spring.
This year the students were asked to write an essay on what tree was their favorite and why. Essays were limited to no more than 30 words and the students were given a list of 24 species of trees from which to choose.
Sutherland chose the Maple as his favorite tree.
"The maple tree is my favorite tree because its leaves are red in the fall. It is colorful and is as bright as a rose."
Wolcott, selecting the weeping willow, said, "Why I like the weeping willow (is) because I love the way its long branches enclose on me (and) make me feel secure. Then I would lay by the lake and sleep."
Judges for the contest were Randy Graves, Virginia Ettien, Betty Bauer, Sara English, Dave Wilson, David McDowell Keith Johnson, Arlie Lane, Ruth Erickson, and Pam Smith.
All the essays will be on public display at Gary and Leo's IGA.