Area students were recognized at a banquet Saturday night for their participation in the VFW District 12 essay contests.
The event was held at the Highland VFW with the program organized by District 12 Commander Wayne Moore and Lois Moore of Keyesport.
Students in grades six, seven and eight wrote essays on the topic “The America I Believe In.” Abby Athmer, daughter of Scott and Heather Athmer of Highland won third place, Julia Bader of Litchfield placed second and the district winner was Peyton Watsek of Alton.
Presented certificates at the banquet were others whose essays were judged at the district level. They included two eighth graders at Greenville Jr. High, representing Bond County Memorial VFW Post 1377, Kyra Wells, daughter of Elena and Adam Wells, and Andrew Huff, son of Michael and Ashley Huff; also Kathryn Criner, daughter of Brad and Becky Criner, an eighth grader at Mulberry Grove Jr. High; Logan Vidmar from St. Paul School in Highland, the son of Jim and Leigh Vidmar; and Haley Golden from Brownstown.
The theme for the high school Voices of Democracy essay contest was “My Responsibility to America.”
Dakota Tostado of Collinsville won first place. Second place in the district went to Ally Becker, a senior at Highland High School. Her parents are Jody and Kerry Becker. Caleb Gleason from Alton placed third.
Other high school students who had their essays advance to the district level were Kelsie Waters, a senior at Mulberry Grove High School who is the daughter of Curt Waters and Michelle Volkmar; and Makenzie Walk, a freshman at Brownstown High School, whose parents are Terry and Leigh Anne Walk.