Three students from Shepherd Middle School in Ottawa are being honored for their essays about their roles as U.S. citizens.
Eighth-graders Cole Smelko, Megan Smelko and Corrine Francis took first- through third-place, respectively, in the Ottawa American Legion Auxiliary's Americanism essay contest. Students were given the prompt "What are my responsibilities as a U.S. citizen?" and were judged based on content, organization and correct spelling and grammar.
Winners received cash awards of ranging from $150 for third place to $200 for first place.
Cole Smelko's first-place essay will advance to the district level. All three winners and their families will attend the Monday, May 6, meeting of the American Legion Auxiliary to read their essays aloud and receive the monetary awards.
The American Legion Auxiliary states the purpose of the contest is to assist schools in teaching Americanism and good citizenship. The contest is divided into three classes: Class 1 for seventh- and eighth-graders; Class 2 for high school freshmen and sophomores; and Class 3 for high school juniors and seniors.