Sussex Middle school student honored for winning essay

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Sussex Middle School eighth-grade student Makayla Nelson was honored Sept. 14 at the Sussex Elks Lodge for her contest winning essay on “Why our Veterans are America's Heroes?” Makayla’s essay centered on the theme that America’s veterans are “real–life superheroes!”

Each year, the Elks organize a nationwide essay contest within their Americanism committee. The essay has two Divisions 5th and 6th grade, and 7th and 8th grade. Both groups are asked to write no more than 250 words on the year's theme, and are judged beginning at their local lodge level.

Makayla’s essay was submitted last December by her social studies teacher Kerri Freda. Mrs. Freda required that all students in her 7th grade social studies class write an essay on the topic, and about 100 essays were submitted to Ashley Green, Sussex Elks Lodge Americanism Chairperson.

For the 2017-2018 essay year, the Sussex Elks Lodge received approximately 200 essays from area schools. Of these essays, three per division moved forward for a total of six essays, according to Ms. Green. Makayla’s essay advanced through the local, district, and state levels into the national judging level. It was the first time in the history of the Sussex Elks lodge that a student’s essay submitted from their lodge went all the way to the national level, said Ms. Green.

During the ceremony, Makayla read her essay, and was awarded two plaques, along with a prize for $175 for making it to the national level.

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a nationwide organization which completes charitable works with Veterans, Special Children, Youth Activities, Drug Awareness, Scholarship, Americanism and more. Locally, our Sussex Elks Lodge 2288 has contributed over 4.3 million charitable dollars to the community since their inception in 1963. Sussex Elks Lodge also sponsors their own youth organization, for children aged 12-20, called the Antlers.

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