Several district students and teachers were honored at the Tonganoxie VFW Post 9271 on Wednesday, February 1. Students were recognized for their participation in the annual VFW essay contests, and two teachers received Teacher of the Year awards.
The annual Patriot's Pen essay contest "encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief." This year’s theme was "My Pledge to Our Veterans." Over 250 middle school students participated in the contest at the local post level. The first place winner was TMS eighth grader Abby Burkart. She read her winning essay for everyone in attendance. Abby's essay advanced to the district level, where she also won first place. Mackenzie Martin, TMS eighth grader, was named the second place winner, and TMS seventh grader Adlen Johnson received third place.
THS junior Abby Clarkson took first place in the Voice of Democracy contest. The Voice of Democracy audio-essay program "provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay." Abby read her winning essay as well, based on this year’s Voice of Democracy theme, "Why is the Veteran Important?"
Debbie Holloway, eighth grade language arts teacher at TMS, was named post-level Middle School Teacher of the Year. She advanced to the district level, where she also won first place. Mike McClellan, THS social studies teacher, was named post-level High School Teacher of the Year.
Patriot’s Pen Winners
Abby Burkart, daughter of LTC James Burkart & Becky Nasalroad
Abby was also the first place winner for District 1, Department of Kansas VFW.
Mackenzie Martin, daughter of Travis & Jessica Martin
Adlen Johnson, daughter of Matthew Johnson & Jennifer Eastes
Ava Beal, daughter of Elizabeth Beal
Beau Riley, son of Jason & Sheldon Riley
Addyson O’Hare, daughter of Pat & Samantha O’Hare
Voice of Democracy Winner
Abby Clarkson, daughter of Deaven Workman
Teacher of the Year Winners
Middle School: Deborah Holloway, Tonganoxie Middle School
Mrs. Holloway was also the first place winner for District 1, Department of Kansas VFW.
High School: Mike McClellan, Tonganoxie High School