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Memorial Day Essay Contest Winners

By Pam Johnson

Published May 23. 2013 1:58PM
Bill O'Brien
Celebrating the essay winners at Walsh Intermediate School are (l-r) Branford Superintendent of Schools Hamlet Hernandez, WIS Assistant Principal Michele Raynor, Second Place Essayist Erin Knox, Branford Memorial Day Parade Chairman Frank Whalen, First Place Essayist Amy An, and teacher Pat Mooney.

In a day and age when one generation may wonder what the other’s thinking, there’s no doubt at least 200 middle school students were thinking of Branford’s service men and women when writing their descriptions of,  “What Memorial Day Means to Me.”

Students at Walsh Intermediate School (WIS) wrote essays of up to 100 words for the annual Thomas Yester Memorial Day Contest in May.  Every entry was then read and carefully considered by a judging committee which included Branford Community Foundation president Eunice Lasala, Branford Counseling Center Director Pat Andriole, and The Sound’s Senior Staff  Writer, Pam Johnson.   The contest is organized by Bill O’Brien for the Branford Veterans Parade Committee.

WIS seventh-grader Amy An was selected as the contest’s first place winner and seventh-grader Erin Knox earned second prize. On Mon. May 27, both An and Knox will read their pieces during the opening ceremony of the Memorial Day Parade on the Branford green (parade kicks off at 10 a.m.). Guilford Savings Bank will award An with a $100 U.S. Savings Bond and Knox a $50 U.S. Savings Bond.  Their winning pieces appear below.

The contest recognized a total of ten outstanding entrants, by also bestowing a Certificate of Merit on essay finalists Brittany Barbour, Caitlin Darby, Zachary Jones, Jenna Juliano, Issy Mannie, Mary Olejarcyk, Leah Pendl-Robinson and Bridget Wirtz.

First Prize Essay:  “Memorial Day Poem” by Amy An: “Fallen soldiers are the reason we are gathered here today, deep underground in a grave they lay. They may be gone from our side, but they’re always in our hearts even though they are far apart. They fought and died; they did it for us, that is why we make a fuss – parades and parties to honor those we have lost, who fought for our future, knowing what it would cost. It cost them their lives, that’s why they’re not here today, so that’s why we have this special day in May. That’s what Memorial Day means to me, just like it should for all families.”


Second Prize Essay  “Memorial Day” by Erin Knox: “Memorial Day is a day set aside to preserve the memory of those who have fought and died for the freedom of our great nation in any military combat. It is a day to shine the light on the heroism, sacrifice, and service displayed by these fallen soldiers in all branches of the United States military. On this day, millions of people around the U.S. have a moment of silence, and bow their heads in admiration of the brave men and women who died fighting to preserve the freedom and democracy for which our country stands.”


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