Excellent essayists honored by Elks

Picture on left: Reedsport 8th-grader Brookly Chudy won first place for Division 4 in the Elks Americanism Essay Contest. Picture on right: Chloe Thurman (left) is an 8th-grader at Reedsport. She finished second in Division 4 for her entry in the Elks Americanism Essay Contest. Sailor Jensen (right), a Florence 7th-grader, won third place in Division 3 for his essay. Photos courtesy Florence Elks Lodge #1858

Lodge #1858 honors local youth

June 16, 2023 — On Thursday, June 1, the Florence Elks Lodge #1858 proudly presented awards to three exceptional essay winners who emerged victorious at the state level in the Americanism Essay Contest. Organized annually by the Grand Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, this contest invites students from grades 5th through 8th to express their thoughts on the theme of "What is Your American Dream." These talented young writers showcased their prowess and captured the hearts of the judges with their insightful essays.

Sailor Jensen, a seventh-grade student from Division 3, claimed the prestigious third-place title. Accompanied by his dedicated home school teacher and mother, Kaleena Jensen, Sailor exuded pride as he received his well-deserved plaque and a generous cash award.

Chloe Thurman, an eighth-grade student from Division 4, secured the second-place position. Chloe, who attends Reedsport Community Charter School, impressed the judges with her exceptional writing skills. Her proud parents, Kathryn and Ryan Thurman, accompanied her to the ceremony, where she was presented with a commemorative plaque and a cash award. The Florence Elks Lodge #1858 commended Chloe for her remarkable accomplishment and wished her continued success.

Brooklynn Chudy, another eighth-grade student from Reedsport Community Charter School, emerged as the first-place winner in Division 4. Under the guidance of her teacher, Kaylie Smith, Brooklynn's essay stood out among the competition, earning her the highest honor at the state level. The Florence Elks Lodge #1858 proudly presented Brooklynn with a distinguished plaque and a cash award during a separate event held at her school. Her remarkable essay has now been submitted to the Grand Lodge for judging at the National level, and the entire community wishes her the best of luck.

Looking ahead, the theme for the upcoming 2023-24 year will be announced in August, sparking excitement among students in grades 5th through 8th who eagerly anticipate participating in the next Americanism Essay Contest. The Florence Elks Lodge #1858, the local sponsor of the competition, encourages all interested students from the Florence, Reedsport, and Mapleton areas to seize this opportunity to showcase their creativity and share their perspectives on the American Dream. For more information on the Florence Elks Lodge #1858 and updates on the contest, please visit their website at www.florenceelks.com. Stay tuned for further details, which will be posted as soon as they become available.

The Americanism Essay Contest continues to inspire young minds, empowering them to reflect on their dreams and aspirations as American citizens. Through their thoughtful essays, Sailor, Chloe, and Brooklynn have proven themselves as exceptional writers, deserving of recognition and praise. Their accomplishments serve as a testament to their talent, dedication, and the unwavering support of their teachers, families, and the Florence Elks Lodge #1858.