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Legion awards elementary students for winning essays

FORT KENT, Maine — Organizers of an American Legion essay contest were impressed with the thoughtfulness of the fifth and sixth graders from Fort Kent Elementary School who participated.

Martin-Klein American Legion post 133 of Fort Kent sponsored the contest, the theme of which was: “Why I am grateful to be an American.”

Hannah Lovley, who won first place for grade 6, wrote about feeling safe in the United States because of the men and women in our military and about appreciating the rights and freedoms allowed people who live here.

“There is no barrier between what girls can do and what boys can do,” she wrote. “When I am older I want to be a doctor for the Army so I can help wounded soldiers that were and still are in battle.”

Fifth grade contest winner Quinn Michaud wrote of his pride for his many family members who have served in the U.S. military, including  great-grandfathers, grandfathers, uncles, and cousins.

“America has fought for our country because our country is one of a kind. It is beautiful and we welcome everyone from every part of the world. The people that moved here long ago had a dream to start a new country and they worked for that dream. That dream turned into America,” Michaud wrote.

Sixth-grader Maxwell Bois earned an honorable mention for his essay and Adeline Shanahan’s essay earned an honorable mention for grade 5.

Martin-Klein Americanism Officer Larry Fitzherbert, who is a veteran of the Vietnam War, organized the contest.

He said he thought it would be nice to see what fifth and sixth graders have to say about why they are grateful living in America.

He and his wife Judy Fitzherbert, who is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, read through more than 60 essays to select the winners.

“I found that these kids were really writing from their hearts. They were honest and thoughtful, not just goofing off but really interested in expressing their feelings,” Judy Fitzhebert said.

“I was quite impressed with how aware they are of how much we have in America compared to other countries,” Larry Fitzherbert said.

Commander Wayne Caron presented the awards, which included ribbons for runners up, medals for the first place winners, and certificates for both the winners and runners up.

Phil Bosse representative for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins attended the awards ceremony which took place on Wednesday afternoon in the elementary school gymnasium. Bossie told all of the fifth and sixth grade students that he read their essays and found them all impressive.

“I enjoyed how appreciative you are of the United States and what our veterans have done for us,” Bossie said. “You are all winners because you took time and put your hearts into thinking about what is important about this country.”

The Legion also presented checks for $100 each to the fifth and sixth grade classes to purchase school supplies. Educators Crystal Jandreau and Deborah Gendreau accepted the checks on behalf of the students.

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