CONYERS - VFW Post 5290 honored four students who won an essay contest last semester.
Students had to write a 300- to 400-word essay for a VFW patriotic essay competition, Patriotic Pen.
"This year, we had pretty stiff competition with 68 essays," said VFW Post 5290 Chairman Bob Timian. "We had a difficult time picking the winners."
After judging ended, four winners emerged.
Conyers resident Kathleen Campbell, a 10th-grade student at George Walton Academy in Monroe, won first place in her division, as well as first place in the Northern Georgia district, taking home $300.
She also had to record her essay, "My Role in Honoring America's Veterans," onto a tape.
"Our soldiers need support from all Americans, regardless of opposing views," her essay reads. "The easiest and most effective way to show this support is to write a letter to a soldier."
She said her cousin is a soldier in Iraq, so she writes to him.
"Writing to him is a simple way of telling him how proud I am of him," her essay reads. "He once wrote me, 'I love getting letters. It usually makes my day to get mail.' Writing a letter does not take much on my part, but I can tell it really means something to him to receive such support."
Campbell will go on to a state competition to compete against 11 other students. If she wins state, she will be able to go on a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet current President George Bush. National winners will win $30,000.
Conyers Middle School seventh-grader Darrin Chavis Jr. took home first place in his division and a $100 savings bond. Andrew Porter, a Memorial Middle School eighth-grade student, won second place and a $75 savings bond, and Magdalene Lastronove, a sixth-grade General Ray Davis Middle School student, won third place and a $50 savings bond.
Michelle Floyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.