I write this letter because these students deserve recognition for something positive, a novel idea! Optimistically, you will publish it, it is not about me, or the BPO Elks, we get enough press. Five members of the Elks volunteered their Saturday afternoon to judge an essay competition with the theme “What makes you proud of America.” I hope this submission will ignite more interest and participation within the community. You may say, “wait, I am patriotic, I would have my child join in, if I had known about it.” Well, this year, you have an excuse, next year, not so much.
Winning division 1 was Madison Hall of Sagle Elementary. Madison wrote, “You never really see how beautiful it really is in America until you open your eyes and look around.” Well, I am taking my cue from Madison, but as I “open my eyes and look around,” I struggle mightily to see the beauty of which she speaks. All I see is divisiveness and polarization, however, there is hope thanks to Madison. When 50 percent of America wishes harm to what remains we are in real trouble. And to the rest, lest you think you are innocent of my scorn and derision, clean up your act! Second- and third-place went to Makenzi Norris and Sunny Barber at Southside.
Audrey Sheffler of Sandpoint Middle wins division 2 with her poignant essay specifically on opportunities for women. Second- and third-place go to Jacob Gove and Olivia Watkins at Sandpoint Christian.