Minden Elementary School fifth-grader Gabriel Poole won first place and $75 in the Minden-Douglas Elks No. 2670 annual Americanism Essay Contest.
Second place and $50 went to sixth-grader Alex Tessmann. Fifth-grader Christian Eckert won third place and a check for $25.
All three students wrote essays of 250 words or fewer with the team "What Freedom Means to Me."
A panel of nine judges evaluated 158 essays and all three winners from Division I (fifth- and sixth-grades) were from Minden Elementary School. Awards were presented to each of the winners at school on Friday. Each student received a certificate and a cash award.
The theme of the essay is selected by the Elks National Grand Lodge.