Edmonds-based VFW Post 8870 recognized several local students Jan. 10 as winners in the annual National VFW Essay contest. One of those honored, Edmonds-Woodway High School student Olivia Olsen, won first place for the third year in a row.
The theme for this year’s Youth Essay contest for grades 4 and 5 was “Why Are Men and Women Who Serve in the Military Special?” Winners were Finley Gonzales, a 4th grade student at Endeavour Elementary School and Margaret Moon, a 5th grade student at Mukilteo Elementary School. Runners up at this grade level who also attend Mukilteo Elementary School were Joel Brannon, Abbey Summerville, and Audrey Stewart. Two 5th graders, Trevor Coble and Ethan Jacobsen, who attend Brier Elementary School, were also selected as runners-up. Margaret was presented with a $100 scholarship from the Post, and each runner up received a $25 scholarship.
The Patriot’s Pen essay contest is open for Middle school students in grades 6, 7, and 8, and the theme for this year’s contest was “The America I Believe In.” The winning entry was submitted by Mohuwa Wahid, a student at Explorer Middle School. Mohuwa follows her sister, Lara, who had previously been a two-time winner in this competition. She received a $100 scholarship. Sara Hatab of Olympic View Middle School was named runner-up. She received a $25 scholarship.
Edmonds-Woodway 11th grader Olivia Olsen garnered 1st place honors and a $100 scholarship in the Voice of Democracy contest. This essay contest is open to high school students in grades 9-12. While the Youth Essay and Patriot’s Pen competition requires a written essay, the Voice of Democracy competition requires the submission of an audio essay. This year’s topic was “My Responsibility to America.” Lara Wahid, a 9th grade student at Kamiak High School was awarded runner-up honors.
Each of the students who won their respective contests, read their essays to the nearly 80 parents, family members, and VFW members who were in attendance at the Jan. 10 meeting.
The post’s student essay competition is coordinated by Fred Apgar who also serves as post chaplain. The winning entries have been forwarded to Washington State VFW for consideration at the district and state levels. More information about VFW Post 8870 activities and programs can be obtained by visiting www.vfw8870.org.
At its Jan. 17 meeting, Edmonds VFW Post 8870 recognized students who were 2017 winners of VFW’s three annual essay contests.
All winners received framed certificates and cash prizes of $100 for first place and $50 for the runners-up.
The theme for this year’s elementary school contest was “What Does a Veteran Mean to Me?” The contest was open to all public, private, and home-schooled elementary school students in the Edmonds and Mukilteo school districts in grades 3, 4, and 5. Winners advanced to district competition, culminating at the state level.
There was no 3rd grade winner this year and the 4th and 5th grader contests were a clean sweep for Brier Elementary School. This year’s winning essay for 4th grade was submitted by Brier’s Sara Ambachew and the runner-up was Brianna Reyes. At the 5th grade level the winner was Cole Harris and the runner-up was Nikolas Lopez.
For middle school students in the two districts, the contest is called Patriot’s Pen and it culminates at the national level. It is open to all middle school students in grades 6, 7, and 8 and the theme for this year’s contest was “America’s Gift to My Generation.” The winning entry was submitted by Mohuwa Wahid, a student at Mukilteo’s Explorer Middle School.
Edmonds-Woodway High School senior Olivia Olson once again took first-place honors in both the local and district Voice of Democracy contest. While two contests for younger students requires a written essay, the Voice of Democracy is an oral competition requiring the submission of an audio recording. This year’s topic was “American History: Our Hope for the Future.” You can see her complete essay below. Lara Wahid of Kamiak High School was runner-up.
In addition, Olivia Olson received a special honor during the Jan. 17 meeting: She was presented with a portrait of herself, drawn by Edmonds artist Michael Reagan, Vietnam-era Marine and war veteran and world-renowned portrait artist living in Edmonds. You can see more details in a related story here.
According to Olivia’s mother Vivian Olson, who attended the presentation, “Michael credited Olivia with having had words that matter, caring, passion and meaningful involvement with the veteran community during the years he has known her, having met her at a similar post meeting when she won her first contest six years ago.”
“I am unbelievably grateful and overwhelmed,” Olivia Olson said of the presentation and gift.