MCC America and Me essay winners announced

MANISTEE — Role models and personal heroes are a large part of a child’s life as they need someone to look up to and emulate in life.

Local winners in the 49th annual America and Me Essay contest are (left to right) Katelyn Brown (first place), Josie Ziehm (second place), and Elena Pizana (third place).

Local winners in the 49th annual America and Me Essay contest are (left to right) Katelyn Brown (first place), Josie Ziehm (second place), and Elena Pizana (third place).

This year the 49th America and Me Essay contest that is sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance selected for its 2017-18 contest topic “My Personal Michigan Hero.” The contest began in 1968 and is open to all Michigan eighth grade students. Several thousand students participated this year from 350 Michigan school districts.

Three Manistee Catholic Central students took the top three positions in the contest this year. Katelyn Brown was selected as the top entry, while Josephine Ziehm finished second and Elena Pizana took third place.

Brown’s winning entry was recognized by having her name put on an engraved plaque that will be displayed at Manistee Catholic Central. All three were also presented certificates for their achievements.

By taking the top spot Brown’s essay will now move on to the state level for the  America and Me Essay contest.

In her essay Brown selected her father as her hero.

“The hero for me is my dad,” Brown said. “He was always there for me in the beginning. My dad did not have a good childhood as his mom died at the age of thirty-eight when my dad was only eight years old. His dad did not want anything to do with him and and the anger of his childhood still lingers to this day. He never used it on me or my brother and he is still is our father. He made a promise never to be like his dad and has succeeded in the his mission that he had planned.”

Brown’s essay will now move on to the state level where the top 10 statewide winners will be named in April. Those top 10 essays will each receive a plaque and a cash award of $1,000. They will also be honored at a banquet in Lansing and be the featured guests at Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball game dedicated in their honor.

For her second place entry Pizana also selected a close family member, writing about her mother.

“She is a mother of three, but still has love more measurable that any scale in the world can measure,” wrote Pizana. “She always works hard, is nice and kind.”

Third place winner Josephine Ziehm also selected a parent for her hero in choosing her dad.

“My Michigan hero is my dad because he has always had a huge impact on my life,” said Ziehm. “He always encouraged me to do my best in everything I do. My dad can be very helpful in times of need. My dad has always taught me to look for happiness through memories and experiences you have with others, not objects and the end of the day it doesn’t matter what possessions you have, but only the experiences and memories you make.”

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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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