Students present patriotic essays, head to regionals |

Students present patriotic essays, head to regionals

by Molly Moser
Carson Valley Middle School 7th graders Matthew Gaskell and Alana Crockett display their award certificates at the Fleet Reserve Association's Americanism-Patriotism Essay awards luncheon Saturday afternoon in Carson City. The pair were two of fifteen from Carson Valley schools to compete for an award in the FRA's essay contest.
Brad Coman |

Two Carson Valley Middle School students were among 11 from five schools who were selected to present their winning essays Saturday at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall on South Curry Street as part of the Fleet Reserve Association Sierra Tahoe Branch 137 annual essay contest.

Matthew Gaskell and Alana Crockett received certificates for participating in the contest.

This year, students focused on what Memorial Day means to them. The reserve collected 28 essays overall. They were read by a panel of judges that selected students from each grade for first, second and third placements.

The winning students are from Carson Valley Middle School, Douglas High School, Faith Christian Academy, South Tahoe High School, and Yerington High School.

South Tahoe High School senior Rebecca Miller is the first student from the school in quite some time to be named a winner by branch 137. This year was her first to participate.

“I’m proud to be recognized for talking about Memorial Day,” she said. “I appreciate remembering our veterans. It’s what they have done means so much to me.”

First-place winners received $100 and will present at regionals, competing against other winners from California, Colorado, and Utah at the FRA West Coast Regional Office.

If a participant’s essay is chosen as a winner during regionals, they advance to the national contest in Washington, D.C. to compete for a $5,000 prize.

The purpose of the essay contest is to challenge the youth to observe and explain what makes America their country. The local FRA hopes to get more schools involved; members deliver letters to area schools for interest.

The contest is open to students in grades 7-12, including home-school students.

“It’s about embracing patriotism and the love for our nation,” said FRA member Rick Athenour. “Civic pride is part of responsibility and that’s why it’s important for us to host these contests.”

Last year, the reserve received 50 essays on the topic of what the United States flag stands for. Topics are chosen at random each year.

“We really cherish our association,” said FRA member and essay chairman Bud Harris. “It makes it worthwhile.”

For more information about the contest, visit