VFW salutes local students

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 29, 2006

AULANDER – As our country prepares to head into another New Year with soldiers stationed in combat zones, some area students took the time to articulate what it means to be an American and received some due recognition for their efforts.

Veterans of Foreign Wars (V.F.W.) Post #11226 in Aulander awarded several prizes to students who participated in the organization’s annual essay writing contest.

Nathan and Lauran Pearce, students in the eighth and sixth grade respectively at Ridgecroft School in Ahoskie, composed essays on the subject &uot;Citizenship in America&uot;.

The brother and sister along with Eliza Quattlebaum, also a Ridgecroft sixth grader received cash prizes and gifts for their efforts.

Nathan, who finished third in the essay contest, received $10, a certificate of achievement, a Patriot’s Pen Mouse Pad and a watch.

Quattlebaum finished second in the contest and received $25, a certificate of achievement, a Patriot’s Pen Mouse Pad and a watch.

Lauran was the winner of the essay competition and was awarded $50, a certificate of achievement, a Patriot’s Pen Mouse Pad and a watch.

VFW Post member Robert Rawls donated the watches that the students received.

Also being recognized was Devan Brown of Millennium who was named &uot;Buddy Poppy King&uot; and received $25 from the V.F.W. District Office.

Brown also received a watch from Rawls as well.

The Buddy Poppy Program is a long-standing tradition of the V.F.W. organization.

The Buddy Poppy is a small red flower that has come to symbolize the blood shed by Allied soldiers during World War I.

The flower was originally sold to provide relief for the people of war devastated European nations. The concept, which started in France, eventually spread to the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Cuba and the United States in 1920.

Each year, a Poppy Girl or Poppy Boy selected from the National Home’s residents starts the annual campaign by presenting the first poppy to the president of the United States.

Students from Riverview Elementary, Ahoskie Elementary, Southwestern Middle School and Ridgecroft School participated in the essay contest.

A total of 56 entries were received from the four schools.

Rose Perry of the V.F.W. Post said she was pleased about being able to make these awards, but wishes she could of given out more.

&uot;We only had one entry for the Voice of Democracy scholarship,&uot; Perry said. &uot;That is the largest award we offer.&uot;

Created in 1947, the Voice of Democracy (VOD) scholarship program is an audio-essay contest for high school students in grades 9-12 that annually provides more than $3 million in scholarships. The first-place winner, who competes with all the first-place VFW Department winners, receives a $30,000 scholarship that is paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school.

Perry said her post received only one entry for this year’s competition and unfortunately it did not follow the correct guidelines.

&uot;We had one young lady from Bertie High School make a submission,&uot; Perry said. &uot;Out of eight schools however, that’s all we received.&uot;

Perry said the competition is open to any student, even those who are home schooled.

&uot;It is a very prestigious award,&uot; Perry said. &uot;The very first winner was Charles Kuwalt.&uot;

Perry is hoping for greater participation from area students next year.

&uot;We are hoping more students will get involved next year,&uot; Perry said. &uot;The scholarship is there for the taking.&uot;

For more information about the V.O.D. annual scholarship visit www.vfw.org online.