Local students named essay contest winners

Local State Farm Insurance agent Jeff Neumann (right) poses with the winners of this year’s America & Me Essay contest. The winners were, from left, Matthew Nelson, second, Tajaun Reed, first, and Elizabeth Brito, third. (Submitted photo)

Local State Farm Insurance agent Jeff Neumann (right) poses with the winners of this year’s America & Me Essay contest. The winners were, from left, Matthew Nelson, second, Tajaun Reed, first, and Elizabeth Brito, third. (Submitted photo)

Three students from Dowagiac Middle School have been named local winners in the 47th annual America & Me Essay Contest, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.

The three students, who earned the first, second, and third place awards for their school, are Tajaun Reed, first, Matthew Nelson, second, and Elizabeth Brito, third. All three received award certificates for their achievement.

As the school’s first place winner, Reed’s name will also be engraved on a plaque for permanent display in the school.

Dowagiac Middle School’s participation in the America & Me Essay Contest was sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance agent Jeff Neumann of Dowagiac.

Reed’s first place essay now advances to the state level competition, from which the top 10 essays in Michigan will be selected. The top ten statewide winners, who will be announced in April, will each receive a plaque, a medallion and a cash award of $1,000.

In addition, the top 10 essayists will be honored at a banquet in Lansing, meet with Michigan’s top governmental leaders, and be the featured guests at a Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball game dedicated in their honor.

A team of finalist judges that includes a top Michigan government official and the sponsoring teachers of last year’s top two statewide winners will determine the ranking of the top ten statewide winners this year.

Several thousand eighth grade students from over 400 Michigan schools participated in the 2015 – 2016 America & Me Essay Contest, which was conducted with the help of Farm Bureau Insurance agents across the state. The topic of the 2015-2016 contest was “My Personal Michigan Hero.”

Started in 1968 and open to all Michigan eighth grade students, the contest encourages Michigan youngsters to explore the greatness of America and its people. As sponsor of the contest, Farm Bureau Insurance has earned 11 national awards from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

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