Students make their “voices” heard in VFW writing contest

School students recognized for writing what makes America great

Carly Shugrue, left, Paul Chase and Charles Misail, the three winners of the Voice of Democracy competition
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TOWNSEND – Kids in local school districts showed their appreciation for the country through essays in two different local contests.

The Townsend VFW Post No. 6538 and its Auxiliary sponsored both the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen competitions this past fall. The competition involves high school students submitting recorded essays covering patriotic topics for the chance to earn scholarships. The latter competition involves students in grades six through eight writing an essay exploring American history and their own experiences tied to a specific theme. The theme for both competitions this year was, “What makes America great.”

The winners of the Voice of Democracy were North Middlesex Regional High School students Paul Chase and Charles Misail, both of Pepperell, and Carly Shugrue of Townsend.

Chase, a freshman, won first place and will receive $150 as a prize, Shugrue won second place with a $100 prize and Misail won third place that included a $50 prize. Shugrue and Misail are both sophomores.

The winners of the Patriot’s Pen competition were students of the Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Harvard. They include Anne-Claire Nickle of Shrewsbury, who won first place and $100, second-place winner Kate Maureen Coakley of Princeton who also won $70, and Anna Wysocki of Athol who came in third place and won $40.

Sitting down for a break between midterms, Chase, Shugrue and Misail said this was the first time they participated in the Voice of Democracy contest.

Shugrue said that her essay focused on Americans who’ve made sacrifices through the years to better the country.

“With all of the world issues we had, I felt like those were issues to be touched upon,” she added.

Misail said his essay was about the everyday people in America being those who truly define the country’s greatness.

“Your teachers, your doctors, your neighbors,” he explained. “Everyone in America contributes something and that all adds up.”

Chase said his essay had three essential points explaining America’s greatness.

“One, the fact that we can live ordinary lives with ordinary days. Two, we can be different without having to worry about doing so. Three, just individuals in America make it great.”