DURAND VFW Post 2272 and its Auxiliary held a luncheon on Sunday, Jan. 5 for the 70 Durand students who participated in the 2019-20 Voice of Democracy and Patriot Pen contests. The winners of the Post 2272 Patriot Pen contest are middle school students Lydia Durfee and Rachel McPherson, and the winners of the Voice of Democracy contest are high school students Ethan Coburn, Shelby Leydig, Meghan McPherson and Emma Warren.
The six Post 2272 winners advanced to their respective district contests, held in St. Louis, MI, on Saturday, Jan. 11. The judges for this year’s contests were Cliff and Maylee Levitt, who were given only two weeks to judge the large number of essays, which were written in response to the question, “What makes America great?” The Durand VFW has seen a substantial increase in the number of Voice of Democracy (VOD) and Patriot Pen participants over the past couple years, thanks in large part to Durand High School Principal Shannon Knapp and Middle School Principal Rebecca Shankster.
Following the awards presentation portion of the luncheon, and just before lunch, the contest participants in attendance gathered for a photo. Shown on Sunday, Jan. 5 is (front row, from left) Durand VFW Auxiliary President and VOD/Patriot Pen chairperson Barb Dingman, Shelby Leydig, Lydia Durfee, Cameron Canute, Callie Rochefort, Emma Warren and Sydney Leydig, as well as (back row, from left) VFW commander Joe Cooney, Mackenzie Pancheck, Dylan McDonald, Keenan Shepard, David Martin, Charles Rawlins, Ethan Coburn, Ty Fielder and VFW member Kathy Lincoln.
Also receiving awards were Seth Blackedge, Emma Maiden, Lillian Scripter, Carli Warren, Lauren Brewer, Cierra Shire, Caila Zusack, Lila Carlson, Brynn Patsey, Maydson Stebbins, Macy Friend, Teala Patterson, Camryn Ackerman, Alexander Bruni, Anissa Hall, Austin Kelley, Alaina Rouse, Abigail Beland, Vanessa Chapko, Kendall Hall, Tylin Patterson, Shawnte St. Charles, Lily Vandendries and Madelyne Botos.
Along with Emma Cole, Brandon Hopton, Nolan Maiden, Evan Samson, Alyssa Williamson, Joseph Huff, Jillian Reddy, Molly Wilson, Aiden Baker, Aiden Custer, Landon Bishop, Izzabell Frederikson, Evan Burr, Jade Garske, Sophia Clayton, Allie Jones, Kailee Killips, Tegan O’Connor, Alicia Wright, Danica Lienemann, Mickelle Ridgon, Savannah Lorts, Jaxon Smith, Elijah Beland, Sophie Loresch, Samuel Harris, Makayla Malwyuk, Jessica Winslow, Jaxmin Ironside, Hannah Root and David Zachary.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)