The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 899 of Walnutport held an Americanism Essay Contest for elementary students throughout the area. This year's title was "How Can I Show Patriotism in My Community."

St. John Neumann Regional School, Palmerton campus, had two winners. Eighth grader Henry Hinchey won first place in his class level and Sayler Burke, a fifth grader, won first in her class level.

Both read their winning essays to members of the student body with their dads present.

In Hinchey's essay, he said that "Patriotism, at least from my perspective, is pride in your community and your way of life." He ended it with "I love my country...there is nothing I would like to change because I love it here."

His essay will be going on to the next level. He is the son of Bill and Maureen Hinchey of Slatington.

In Burke's essay, she said some of the ways we can show our patriotism is to "say the Pledge of Allegiance, send packages to soldiers, donate money to people in need, keep our country clean and show respect."

She is the daughter of Michael adn Taryn Burke of Lehighton.

Ruth Porter of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 899 of Walnutport, presented the students with certificates and $25.

"The main objective of the American Legion Auxiliary Essay Contest is to increase awareness and participation in youth activities that support proper respect and loyalty to our country. It is a way to mentor children in local schools while promoting and recognizing outstanding achievement in patriotism and citizenship. It also encourages participants to learn about the fundamental rights and freedoms we enjoy today," says Porter.

SSJ's principal, Sister Virginia Stephanie says the entire school is proud of their accomplishments.