GREAT BARRINGTON - The Adams-Budz Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8183 of Housatonic recently held award ceremonies to honor students who competed in local level of the VFW's patriotic oral essay and written essay competitions.
Monument Mountain Regional High School sophomore Joseph Grochmal and Monument Valley Regional Middle School sixth-grader Lauren Kinne finished first in the local level of these contests.
Grochmal, from Housatonic, won first place in the annual Voice of Democracy competition, where students write an essay and then record it for judging.
The theme of this year's VOD contest was "Is Our Constitution Still Relevant?"
VOD second place winner was sophomore Mary Ward of Pittsfield and the third place winner was Joseph Grochmal's sister, Olivia, a senior.
Kinne, from Great Barrington, won the overall best essay in the Patriot's Pen competition where students from grades six to eight write a 300- to 400-word essay.
The theme of this year's contest was "What I Would Tell America's Founding Fathers." There were 136 entries in this year's local Patriot's Pen competition.
In the eighth grade, Kayne Wellauer of Great Barrington was first, Jeffrey Crandell of Otis was second, and Ana Bloom of West Stockbridge finished third.
For the seventh grade, Tristan Alston of Housatonic was first, Bram Fisher of West Stockbridge earned second, and Mackenzie Viola of West Stockbridge was third.
The Grade 6 winner was Emilee Logan of Housatonic, with Margot Dovillet of Housatonic earning second-place and Annie Provost coming in third.
Now, Joseph Grochmal and the top 10 finishers in the Patriot's Pen contest move on to the Berkshire County competition.
Contest judges for the Housatonic post contests were: Jack Spencer, Marilyn Bisiewicz, Ronald Bisiewicz, Richard Delmasto, Charles B. Flynn III, Karen Gralla, Robert J. Gray Jr., Patricia Hoskeer and Raymond B. Murray III.
Contest personnel for the Adams-Budz VFW Post 8183 sponsored contests were: John Bubriski, Ann Grochmal, Ruth McCormick, Peter Naylor, Kate Naylor and John Regalbuti.
More than a dozen local individual and family sponsors donated to offer monetary awards and prizes to the contest winners.