Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613 recently held an Awards Ceremony for the winners of the 2014 Elks’ Americanism Essay Contest.
Eight schools were contacted to participate in this year’s event.
The annual contest is held nationwide, recognizing the best written essays submitted by students in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Each essay is limited to 250 words or less, and 2014 year’s topic was “What the Pledge of Allegiance Means to Me?”
The Santa Barbara Elks Lodge received 80 entries for the competition. From the essays submitted, six were chosen as the winning essays, and each one was written by a St. Raphael School student. Students Alana Blue, Jessica Froelicher, Olivia Severson, Jacob Keoper, Kalissa Flint and Reade Varesio were each recognized for their outstanding essays and academic achievement.
The contest also awarded prizes for Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year. St. Raphael teachers Susan Schiferl and Jodi Waples tied for 2014 Teacher of the Year, and St. Raphael Principal Michelle Limb was awarded 2014 Principal of the Year.
Ed Martin, exalted ruler for the Elks No. 613 lodge, presented the awards. When asked why the St. Raphael students were chosen as winners for all the awards, he stated, “The Elks were very impressed by the students’ patriotism and commitment to our local veterans and their dedication to the Pledge of Allegiance.”
Included in the ceremony was a dinner for the students and their families, along with a Certificate of Recognition. As winners, the students’ essays will automatically be entered into the Elks’ District Contest and, if they win, will go on to participate in the Elks’ National Essay Contest.
— Teri Conrad represents Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613.