Craig students show patriotism through writing |

Craig students show patriotism through writing

Nate Waggenspack

CMS Patriot's Pen essay awards

First: Makala Herndon

Second: Taylor Haddock

Third: Madison Coutts

Honorable Mention: Julia Christensen, Caitlin Reed, Spencer Brown, Aaron Hill, Josie Timmer, Christopher Jensen, Devin McIntosh, Kelton Villard, Tristan Farquharson, Hailee Herndon, Logan Ray, Donovan Converse, Dave Drake, Ashley Baysinger, Courtney Haskins, Allison Catherine Villard, Lexi Weber, Trevor Hume, Chase Jeffcoat, Owen Allen, Kameron Baker, Joshua Gumber, Karla Pitha, Tauren Farquharson, Eliana Mack, Winter Rogers

Craig Middle School recognized a host of students Friday who showcased their understanding and appreciation of their country and freedom through writing.

Eighth- and sixth-graders participated in the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars national essay contest “Patriot’s Pen,” writing on the theme of “What patriotism means to me.” Students wrote in a maximum of 300 words on the subject in October, and on Friday members of VFW Post No. 4265 in Craig came to thank and reward them for their writing.

The veterans read every essay and said they were impressed by the intelligent and eloquent responses they got from such a young group.

“It gets you thinking more about what’s going on around you,” said Mark Wick, Post No. 4265 Commander. “We enjoyed reading them very much. Some of them were very emotional for us.”

At CMS it was a pair of sixth-graders and an eighth-grader who earned the top three spots.

Makala Herndon was awarded first, while Taylor Haddock and Madison Coutts were second and third, respectively. The three took different approaches to the topic of patriotism, but each had something valuable to say.

“I talked about the monuments that stand in our country, like for our presidents, and some of the animals we use as symbols,” Madison said. “Like Mount Rushmore, with George Washington because he was our first and greatest leader, and Abraham Lincoln, who’s so well-remembered.”

Makala’s winning essay focused on saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and what that means to her.

“Pledging to the flag everyday is what I wrote about,” she said. “I feel lucky to live in a place where I don’t have to fight for my freedom. Others are doing that for us and we’re lucky to have them.”

Veteran’s Day is one of several patriotic holidays celebrated in the U.S. and the subject of Taylor’s essay.

“I wrote about Veteran’s Day and how it means so much to us,” she said. “It shows we’re independent.”

The contest winners will have their essays submitted to the state competition, and then the national level if they are chosen once again to win scholarship money from VFW.

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or

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