EM students earn rewards for VFW essay contest

ELK MOUND — Eighth grade students in Dave Lew’s civics class at Elk Mound Middle School recently used a class assignment to participate in an essay contest sponsored by the Post 7232 Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary based out of the Town of Union in Eau Claire. The topic for the essay was “What I Would Tell America’s Founding Fathers” and had to be 300-400 words. After submitting their essays, a panel of three judges from the Eau Claire area decided which students would earn cash prizes for their efforts.The awards were presented Dec. 17 in Mr. Lew’s classroom by Karen Adank, June Duss and Marvin Duss, representing the VFW and Auxiliary.

Matthew McLaughlin took the top award and received a check for $100, Meredith Hainstock won $75 for second place, Maria Heltne was third and won $50, Jerry Lor placed fourth (and was also second in the district) for $25, Troy Arneson was fifth and received $15 while Kaitlyn Baier placed sixth to earn $10.

In addition, Mr. Lew was nominated for the 9th District Teacher of the Year Award by writing his own essay detailing his involvement in the community. He will find out in February if he wins the award.

“This VFW chapter has been very involved with the Elk Mound School District and community,” Lew said. “We are very grateful to the support they have shown us over the years, not just with this essay contest but in many other areas of education and community service,” he added.

Following is Matthew’s winning essay:

What I would Tell Our Founding Fathers

If I could talk with our founding fathers, I would tell them about all the good and bad things to come. I would tell them of the ups and downs, the attacks and assassinations. I would tell them how America is always strong no matter what happens.

If I could talk with our founding fathers, I would tell them about the civil war and Lincoln’s assassination. That even though so many died we were still the United States and that it only made us stronger. Our president was assassinated, but slavery was gone. We stayed strong.

If I could talk with our founding fathers, I would tell them about Black Tuesday and The Great Depression. I would tell them that our entire economy collapsed and many people starved. But I would also tell them that we pulled our self together and got it all fixed. We stayed strong.

If I could talk with our founding fathers, I would warn them of The Pearl Harbor attack and World War II. I would tell them that even though the attack was a complete surprise, we fought back and sunk three mini subs and shot down twenty-nine planes. Then the U.S. joined the war and fought for the freedom of others. I would tell them that we were all saddened the day of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I would tell them that through all of the war and fighting we stayed strong.

If I could talk with our founding fathers,  I would tell them about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the lunar program he started. That because of him, we went to the moon.

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” — JFK May 1961

I would tell them of his assassination and how the whole entire country was shocked. I would say that the lunar landing would not have been possible without him. I would tell them that even though one of our greatest presidents was assassinated we were strong.

Lastly, I would tell that through all of the ups and down, all of the chaos and pandemonium, the pride and sorrow, we stayed strong.