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Vets essay winners do well in district, state contests

Maya Christianson

Ridgefield’s has plenty of patriotism, and a lot of good writers, among its young people.

Four of five Ridgefield students who won essay contests sponsored by the Ridgefield Veterans of Foreign Wars went on to win at the district level. And one — Maya Christianson — was a statewide winner whose work will be entered in the VFW’s national competition.

Ms. Christianson was joined in winning at the district level of the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen competition by Lauren Chakraborty. Both are eighth graders at Scotts Ridge Middle School.

Also winning at the district level were Miranda Rosenblum and Sarah Baer, who shared the honors as Ridgefield winners of the VFW’s Voice of Democracy contest for high school students.

This year’s middle school Patriot’s Pen competitors were asked to address their essays to the nation’s founding fathers, and Ms. Christianson’s statewide winning essay was titled America the Beautiful. Among themes of the page and a half essay is the enduring value of the Constitution that the founders crafted.

“Because of the Constitution, our nation has remained organized and efficient; running smoothly through challenging times, and always keeping its people safe from harm,” she wrote. “The Constitution ensured that as times changed, so could the government. The people’s rights are dependent upon this document…”

Ms. Christianson won the state contest in competition against the winning essays from six Connecticut districts. She and her parents learned of her win at a dinner in January with district winners from around the state at the VFW Post in New Britain.

Walter Goodman of the Ridgefield VFW noted that Scotts Ridge Middle School also had a statewide winner five years ago.

“There’s an interesting pattern here, and the school sets the pattern,” he said. “It’s probably one of the few schools in the state where the entire school participates.”

Ridgefield schools win at the district level with some regularity. Mr. Goodman also said that he felt that among the reasons Ridgefield performs consistently well in the both high school and middle school patriotic essay contests are the schools’ annual Veterans Day programs, which give students an understanding of and appreciation of what patriotism means.

“I think its appropriate to recognize that the schools do a fantastic job with Veterans Day,” he said, “and this shows in the passion and strong feeling of the kids who do the writing.”

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