Lehighton Area Republican Club President Jason Galloway recognized the winners of the 2012 "Dollar Bill" Presidents' Day Essay Contest at the recent Lehighton Area School Board meeting.

First prize was awarded to Lehighton Area High School sophomore Matthew McGeehan for his essay entitled "Thomas Jefferson's Tombstone." He received a $150 U.S. savings bond.

Runners-up are Lehighton Area Middle School eighth grade student Megan Pomposello for her entry "Madison and His Concerns" and LAHS senior Katie Eidem for her essay "Man of Freedom." Each received a $50 bond.

Five students received honorable mention. LAHS sophomore Matthew Richard Cramer was recognized for his essay about the achievements of Andrew Jackson. Recognized for their respective entries about Thomas Jefferson were LAHS senior Sydney Schafer; LAHS sophomore Elizabeth Beck; and LAMS eighth grade students Amanda Loudon and Wyatt Clements.

This voluntary essay contest is open to all middle and high school students in public, parochial, private, and charter schools – as well as to students who are home-schooled – who reside within the geographic boundaries of Lehighton Area School District.

For this year's essay contest, students were asked to select their respective subjects from one of three U.S. Presidents pictured on "paper money" – Thomas Jefferson on the two dollar bill; Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill; and James Madison on the five thousand dollar bill. President Richard Nixon halted circulation of the five thousand dollar bill in 1969 to help combat organized crime.

Entries were judged on the criteria of originality, factual accuracy, grammar, and composition, as well as the expression of some thoughtful personal judgment or opinion about the subject, but with neutrality toward the actual point of view.

Galloway thanked the teachers, staff, administrators, and judges for their help and cooperation with the essay contest.