Local students named Farm Bureau essay winners

MANISTEE — Three students from Manistee Middle School have been named local winners in the 50th annual America & Me Essay Contest sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.

Manistee Middle School winners in the 50th Annual America and Me Essay Contest were recently honored by local Farm Bureau Insurance agent Matt Knizacky. Shown left tor right are Knizacky, Phillip Scheffler (first place), Aubrey Anderson (second place), Robert Schmidt (third place) and teacher Morgan Nowicki.

The three students who earned first, second and third place awards for their school are Phillip Scheffler (first place), Aubrey Anderson (second place) and Robert Schmidt (third place). All three received certificates for their achievement.

This year the topic that students wrote about was “My Personal Michigan Hero.” As the school first place winner, Scheffler’s name will also be engraved on a plaque for permanent display at the school.

Phillip selected his mom, Patricia Scheffler, as his Michigan hero in his winning essay.

“She has always been there for me when I was in need. Like any other mom, she picks me up physically and in a logical sense when I fall. I love her for the things she continues to do for me,” he wrote in his essay.

“Even if I take her for granted sometimes, she continues to love me no matter what. She has never asked me for anything in return except that I do my best. I know my mom sounds like any other mom but to me she isn’t. She may do the basic things a mother should like cook dinner, get us prepared for school, and doing the laundry, but she is different in the sense of she is my teacher and my best friend.”

Second place winner Aubrey Anderson selected her grandfather, Dave Anderson, as her Michigan hero.

When he is not working he likes to spend time with his family. We have family dinners, game and movie nights and sometimes family trips out of town. When we have family dinners we all cook together, on game night we all take turns picking out the games, and on movie night we all make snacks and decide on a movie together.

“He also loves the outdoors. He takes me rock hunting, mushroom and berry picking, hiking, snowshoeing, fishing/ice fishing, hunting, camping, bow hunting. We have hiked on the Appalachian Trail, North Country Trail, the Manistee River Trail to name a few.

“The reason I chose my grandpa is because when I was little he was always there for me and he still is always there for me even though he runs a business and has two other grandchildren. He has taught me many life skills I’ll need to know when I’m an adult. He has taught me survival skills that I will need when not only I am in the woods, but when I am in the real world.”

In his third place essay, Schmidt wrote about Marshall Bruce Mathers III, better known as Eminem, as his Michigan hero.

“While he was growing up he faced many struggles,” wrote Schmidt. “While he was in school he was bullied and other kids would beat him up in bathrooms, hallways and shoved him into lockers.

“He bounced between schools where he seemed to be an outcast in each school. His grades were bad and he failed ninth grade three times before dropping out of school.”

However, Schmidt pointed out that Mathers had a passion for storytelling and language and went on to a very successful rap music career.

Scheffler’s first place essay now advances to the state level competition, from which the top 10 essays in Michigan will be selected. The top 10 statewide winners, who will be announced in April, will each receive a plaque, a medallion and a cash award of $2,000. In addition, the top 10 essayists will be honored at a banquet in Lansing, meet with Michigan’s top governmental leaders, and be the featured guests at a Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball game dedicated in their honor.

Also part of the 50th anniversary celebration, Farm Bureau will be presenting each top ten statewide school with a $1,000 check and another $500 more if the school was sponsored by a Farm Bureau Insurance agent.

A team of finalist judges that includes a top Michigan government official and the sponsoring teachers of last year’s top two statewide winners will determine the ranking of the top 10 statewide winners this year.

Several thousand eighth grade students from over 400 Michigan schools participated in the 2018-19 America and Me Essay contest which was conducted with the help of Farm Bureau Insurance agents across the state.

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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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