Whitehall Elks announce essay contest winners

Essay finalists (D-II) Essay finalists (D-I)America’s most recognizable and patriotic song was the topic of the Whitehall Elks’ American Essay contest.

Fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from Whitehall and Fair Haven were asked to answer the question, “What the National Anthem Means to Me,” all in 250 words or less.

“It was quite a history lesson to read the essays,” said Tammy Stevens, who organizes the local contest each year. “The National Anthem was written in 1814 during the War of 1812 by Francis Scott Key. It’s said the Ticonderoga that was raised from this end of Lake Champlain about 50 years was from that war.

How did I learn that….reading the essays.”

Although organizers reach out to local teachers, the contest is not part of their curriculum and students write the essays on their own time.

Each of the essays was read by a panel of four judges comprised of members of the Elks Lodge and the community, who evaluated each student’s writing based on their response to the question.

This year’s panel included Stevens, Julie Eagan, exalted ruler of the elks and town village justice, Jill Gilman, and town Supervisor George Armstrong.

After reading each essay, judges removed the ones they deemed most worthy and the ones that made the cut were read aloud and given a numerical score until the submissions were whittled down to the top 10 and eventually the top three.

The students who wrote the top 10 essays in each division (Division I consisted of students in grades 5 and 6 while Division II is made up of students in grades 7 and 8) were treated to a pizza and bowling party earlier this month.

The top three essays from each division are forwarded to the district level and from there finalists can move on to the regional and national levels.

Whitehall has had several finalists advance to the state level during the past several years.

The top national finalists will receive a $1,000 savings bond.

 

Paul Henry was the winner of the Elks Essay Contest in the seventh and eighth grade division. Below is his essay.

 

The national anthem is a song that we sing to represent our country. It is a song to show respect to our forefathers who fought for this country and to the soldiers who are still fighting. I like to sing the national anthem because it makes me feel good when I sing it. Sometimes I see people singing the national anthem and they cry. That shows me that it is not just a song, but words with deep meaning. Millions of people all over the country can sing this song together, it brings strength and unity.

It is a song that all generations have shared and will continue to share now and in the future. It ties in with our flag, which also is a symbol of respect for this country. This is the land of the free, as said in the national anthem, such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I’m glad this anthem has survived many generations, and no one has decided to change or “do away with it,” like some of our other traditions, such as trying to take the word God out of certain songs and even cutting out celebrating holidays in school. Living in America is a gift and when Americans get together and unite and sing the national anthem, you can feel the heart felt joy and commitment, and for a few minutes we are in all agreement.

To me the National Anthem makes me feel strong when I sing it, because I feel like I have a country standing with me, but most of all I feel proud.

 

Caitlin St. Germain was the winner in the fifth and sixth grade division. Below is her essay.

The national anthem is the nation’s song. This song is written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. The national anthem is important and special to me.

The national anthem is important to me because when I hear it I think of how lucky I am to be an American. I think of all of those who have serving for our country’s freedom. In the last line of the song it says: “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” This is my favorite line because when the soldiers were in the war they fought and fought until we got what they wanted, freedom.

The national anthem is special to me because when I am standing there with my hand on my heart, it is always at a special time and place. At the beginning of a sporting event, the Olympics and when we are honoring those who served or those who have fallen in action. To me this song is a symbol of country’s freedom and our rights. I honor and look up to those that have served. These people that have served are inspiring. When I hear this song I think of how they never gave up.

When I hear the national anthem it makes me feel proud because I am American. I am free! I honor the flag and those who have served for our country.

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Times in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Classifieds 09/02/15

Charges linger for 10 months, Man in limbo after arresting cop quits

Morrill resignation

By Christina Scanlon When former Granville Police Officer Marc D. Morrill resigned abruptly in April, several cases were still to […]

Trump, Cruz, Carson, Sanders top Washington County straw poll

Straw Poll

By Dan King The Washington County Fair met politics last week, as 737 people came out to vote in a […]

Naval Militia volunteers receive award

Naval Militia

By Dan King A group of seven area maritime veterans, including two from Whitehall and one from Granville, will be […]

First Friday this Friday

This month’s First Friday event, hosted by The Slate Valley Museum and Pember Museum and Library will features an unveiling […]

Teens’ summer jobs pay off

By Christina Scanlon As the summer of 2015 winds down and local youth prepare to head back to school, 50 […]

Hampton primary could decide election

By Christina Scanlon November’s election could be decided next week in Hampton, depending how the votes play out at the […]

Back to school in Hartford

By Christina Scanlon Teachers in the Hartford are headed back to school this week, while students across the district will […]

Backpack program, We Care Project join forces

By Dan King Last November the inaugural Mom Prom raised thousands of dollars for the We Care Project, which is […]

Changes everywhere as school begins today

By Dan King As students arrive at Whitehall Central School today, there will be abundant changes around them. Whether at […]

Bus routes honed as school looms

By Christina Scanlon The floors are gleaming with new wax, while outside the leaves are beginning to turn colors and […]

Earth science a challenge

By Christina Scanlon It takes a 65 on the Regents Exam to pass Earth Science, a course mandatory to get […]