Elks lodge names winners of Americanism Essay Contest

MANISTEE — One of the most important lessons students can learn about is the important role veterans have played throughout the history of this country.

This year, the Elks Grand Lodge Fraternal centered the importance of that role in their annual Americanism Essay Contest. The theme this year was “Why Our Veterans are American Heroes.”

The Manistee Elks Lodge No. 250 recently announced the winners of its Americanism Essay Contest. They were recently honored with their parents, teacher and principal. Shown (left to right) are teacher Connie Josvai, parent Heather Banicki, student Joey Banicki, Elks essay committee member George Culbert, student Audrey Jados, parent Amanda Parks, parent Jason Jados and principal Andy Huber.

The Manistee Elks Lodge No. 250 recently announced the winners of its Americanism Essay Contest. They were recently honored with their parents, teacher and principal. Shown (left to right) are teacher Connie Josvai, parent Heather Banicki, student Joey Banicki, Elks essay committee member George Culbert, student Audrey Jados, parent Amanda Parks, parent Jason Jados and principal Andy Huber.

The Manistee Elks Lodge No. 250 Americanism Essay Contest committee member George Culbert said the local students did an excellent job in writing about that topic. The contest is open to grades 5-8 and teachers have the option of having their students take part in the contest.

“We had 64 entries this year from Manistee Area Public and Manistee Catholic Central schools and there were some very good essays turned in,” said Culbert.

At the local level students were honored with a certificate, and their work moves on to district and state competition. Students have the opportunity to have their work compete against students from all over the state and nation.

Selected as local winners this year were Manistee Middle School students  Joey Banicki (sixth grade) and Audrey Jados (sixth grade), who are students of Connie Josvai. Another local winner was Manistee Catholic Central fifth grader Josie Fischer, who is a student of Nick Fedder.

Douglas Schiefer, who is Grand Lodge Fraternal Committee chair, said the contest sends out an important message.

“This contest is most important because it involves school children in your area, showing them Americanism at its best,” said Schiefer.

Jados wrote in her essay how veterans willingly step forward to serve their country.

“First of all veterans risk their life to protect us. Their own life! This is serious and we should be thankful for them. They have a choice whether or not they want to or not. They don’t have to, they choose to. It used to be that the government could just tell you that you have no other choice to be a veteran and serve in the military. Now it’s a choice, and it’s amazing how many people choose to be a veteran,” she wrote.

Banicki wrote in her essay about the great debt of gratitude owed to the veterans.

The Manistee Elks Americanism Essay Contest winner from Manistee Catholic Central is fifth grader Josie Fischer who is shown with her teacher Nick Fedder (left) and Elks Essay Committee member George Culbert.

The Manistee Elks Americanism Essay Contest winner from Manistee Catholic Central is fifth grader Josie Fischer who is shown with her teacher Nick Fedder (left) and Elks Essay Committee member George Culbert.

“Veterans are America’s superheroes. Sometimes they risk their lives to let us walk on the streets freely. We owe much respect to these people for keeping us safe and free.

“These people give us the power to live safely with our families even if that means they don’t always get to see their family. They work hard daily to protect us and our families,” she wrote.

In her essay Fischer talked the importance of veterans and how they should never be forgotten when they are in need of our assistance.

“They are important because they defend our great country. If there are no veterans in America, there might not have been an America because how could we defend our country?

“They are 50 percent more likely to become homeless than other Americans, due to poverty and other reasons. Veterans and other Americans do not deserve to be homeless because they fought for our country and have risked their lives to keep America safe,” Fischer wrote.

Previous Elks Americanism essay winners include:

• 2014-15: Essay theme “What the Pledge of Allegiance Means to Me,” Seth Thompson, second place Division I Kennedy Elementary School;

• 2015-16 Essay theme “What I Can Do to Promote Americanism and Love of Country,” Solana Postma, second place Division I Kennedy Elementary School; Samuel Madsen, second place Division II Manistee Catholic Central and Darlent Diep; third place Division II Manistee Catholic Central; and

• 2016-17 Essay theme “Why is it Important to Vote,” Brooklynn Blair, second place Division I Kennedy Elementary School.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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