Members of the Lehighton American Legion Shoemaker-Haydt Post Auxiliary Unit 314 honored student Americanism essay contest winners, girls who attended Keystone Girls State and Miss Poppy during the "Mother's Day" program held recently at the Lehighton American Legion.

Sue Anthony, Americanism chairwoman, not only announced the winners of the local contest, she announced that three students' essays won at the country level and two of the three essays went on to win at the state level.

Winners of the essay contest were, Oliva Frendt, daughter of Trance and Stephanie Frendt and a student at Franklin Elementary School, winner of the third and fourth grade contest; Jada Whiteman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Glen Whiteman and a student at Lehighton Area Middle School, winner of the fifth and sixth grade contest; Sydney DeLoatch, son of Miller DeLoatch and Sherri Weiss, and a student at Lehighton Area Middle School, winner of the seventh and eighth grade essay contest; and Taylor Walck, daughter of Trevor and Jan Walck and a student at the Lehighton Area High School, and winner of the ninth and tenth grade essay contest; and Laura Cressley, daughter of Brad and Beth Cressley and a student at Lehighton Area High School, winner of the 11th and 12th grade essay contest.

Whiteman, Walck and Cressley were Four County winners and Walck and Cressley essays went on to become State Contest winners.

The theme of the contest was, "How Can I Encourage my Friends to Show Pride in Being an American?"

Anthony said that she read every essay from Lehighton students herself to seek a winner and that she was extremely proud to see that the students in Lehighton had done so well in the Four County contest and had two State winners. She was especially thankful for the teachers who encouraged students to participate and thanked Jennifer Kovatch and Christi Marchelli for assisting in gathering the essays for her to judge.

She said she read all 330 essays from Lehighton School District and that she had heard that 10,000 essays were judged at the State level to come up with 15 state winners.

Cressley wrote, "I could encourage them to show their American pride by explaining to them that lives were lost or put on the line just for freedom we have today. Maybe by telling them this, they might realize that there is a cost to freedom - a cost that no amount of money could ever buy."

Walck wrote, "In order to get my friends, and the rest of the generations to show pride in being an American, I need to focus on the things in America that mean the most to us. Teenagers should show their pride by going to school daily and making an effort. Voting is one of the biggest things anyone can do to contribute and show pride in America."

Chey Davis, daughter of Traci and Gary Caprio, was one of the participants at Keystone Girl's State. Davis said that attending was a life-changing experience and that she has maintained friendship with several of the girls.

Also participating last year at Keystone Girls State was Tanya DeCindio, daughter of Deborah and Tony DeCindio.

Miss Poppy, McKena Christman, daughter of Kara Newton and Shawn Christman, was introduced and assisted in the Memorial program for past members.