ROXBURY, NJ -  Eight students from Lincoln/Roosevelt School, Eisenhower Middle School and Roxbury High School were honored recently by the Roxbury School Board  for winning this year’s VFW Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy Essay contestsi.

John Lehnert, the commander of VFW Post 2833 in Kenvil, Nancy Bottona and Don Banta were there to congratulate the students and present them with certificates. This year’s topic for the VFW Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest and the Voice of Democracy Contest was “What Makes America Great”.

This nationwide VFW youth essay-writing contest gives students in sixth through eighth grade the opportunity to express their views on democracy. Contestants write 300- to 400-word essays based on the annual patriotic theme.

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This year’s winners from Eisenhower Middle School were eighth-graders Annika Szardenings (1st Place), Jared Weiss (2nd Place), and Aditya Mahalingam (3rd Place).

The first, second, and third place winners from Lincoln/Roosevelt School were sixth-graders Virginia Leal, Katrinka Sullivan, and Christos Paxos.

Lehnert thanked the students for their inspiring messages and thanked EMS and Lincoln/Roosevelt teachers, Margery Richman, Shannon Rodas, Stacy Buchanan, Amy Muller and Jamie Osbun for promoting these contests and for Roxbury Schools for participating in the VFW Voice for Democracies program.

He then went on to present this year’s Voice of Democracy winners. Participants in this contest must be in grades 9-12 and need to write and record an essay on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s winners were Sophomores Sarah Rice (1st Place) and Kate Rice (2nd Place).

Lehnert ended saying, “We would like to thank Maria Rispoli for promoting this to her students, and we would also like to thank the principals, Mr. Miller, Mr. Gallagher, and Mr. Argenziano for coming out to support their students.”