America And Me Essay Winners Announced

By Lynne Beauchamp,

Three students from Dwight Beach Middle School in Chelsea have been named local winners in the 50th annual America & Me Essay Contest, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.

In first place, Sarah Capper. Second, Julia Kause and third, Trevor Ford. Beach Middle School’s participation in the contest was sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance, Agent Rick Eder of Chelsea.  The three students received award certificates for their achievement. As first place winner, an engraved plaque with Capper’s name will be on display at Beach. 

“Our students write this essay as part of a unit about heroes as a sort of end-of-unit composition” said Alex Stacy, English teacher at Beach Middle School. Stacy said he, along with colleague Kathryn McCalla, read the students’ essays, about 200, and selected the top ten. Those top picks were sent to Rick Eder to choose the top three and he chose Capper as the first place winner.

According to Leigh Schwarz with Farm Bureau Insurance, Rick Eder Agency; over 400 Michigan schools participated in this year’s event, in which the topic of the contest was “My Personal Michigan Hero.” The contest is in its 50th year anniversary, Beach Middle School being a participant for the past 45 years.

Capper’s first place essay now advances to the state level competition from which the top 10 Michigan essays will be selected. Those top ten will be announced in April and the authors will each receive a plaque, a medallion and $2000. Additionally, those top ten will be honored at a banquet in Lansing, meet Michigan government leaders and be featured guests at a Lansing Lugnuts game.

In Capper’s essay, she chose to write about her sister Emily whom she said has Angelman Syndrome. Capper described the condition saying it makes her sister unable to talk or take care of herself as well as comes with the symptoms of being overly happy and laughing often.

“I don’t have the ability to look at her without wanting to leap like a ballerina into her lap and give her hug,” Capper wrote in her essay. “She makes me realize if she can stay happy through all the tremendous things she goes through, I can get through the challenges that pop up in my life.”

In a separate conversation, Capper explained her inspiration behind the essay.

“I chose to write about my sister because she has made such a big impact on my life.

My life would be completely different if it weren’t for her. There is no one out there that I have met that is quite like her. She is just a very special person. She teaches me how to be a good person and be nice to everyone you meet. She has brought so much joy to my life. She always cheers me up when I am sad. Though she won’t save my life she is a true hero to me in her own special way.”

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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