Local students named essay contest winners

Three students from Assumption School in Belmont have been named local winners in the 42nd annual America & Me Essay Contest, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance. Alexander Bolin earned first place, Liam Cowen earned second, and Lindsey Kramarz third. All three received an award certificate for their achievement. As the school’s first-place winner, Bolin’s name will also be engraved on a plaque for permanent display in the school.

Named winners in the annual America & Me Essay Contest are (l–r) Liam Cowen, Alexander Bolin and Lindsey Kramarz.

Bolin’s first-place essay now advances to the state level competition, from which the top 10 essays in Michigan will be selected. The top 10 statewide winners, who will be announced in April, will each receive a plaque, a medallion and a cash award of $1,000. In addition, the top essayists will be honored at a banquet in Lansing, meet with Michigan’s top governmental leaders, and be the featured guests at a Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball game dedicated in their honor.

A team of finalist judges that includes a top Michigan government official and the sponsoring teachers of last year’s top two statewide winners will determine the ranking of the top 10 statewide winners this year.

Several thousand eighth-grade students from nearly 500 Michigan schools participated in the 2010-2011 America & Me Essay Contest, which was conducted with the help of Farm Bureau Insurance agents across the state. The topic of the 2010-2011 contest was “My Personal Michigan Hero.” Started in 1968 and open to all Michigan eighth-grade students, the contest encourages Michigan youngsters to explore their roles in America’s future. As sponsor of the contest, Farm Bureau Insurance has earned 11 national awards from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

Following is the winning essay by Alexander Bolin.

My Michigan Hero

My Michigan hero is my Grandpa Bo. He was a war hero of Vietnam. He was also a Michigan State Trooper. Papa Bo does not like to talk about the war, but he does tell stories about his time as a police officer.

Papa Bo received a commendation for saving someone’s life. One time, Papa was working and he saw a pheasant sitting on a split rail fence by a farm. Behind a pheasant he saw a farmer who waved at him, so he waved back.

A while later, Papa thought he would go back and see if the pheasant was still sitting there. When he pulled up, the farmer waved at him again. This was odd because the farmer was in exactly the same spot. So, he pulled in to see if he was okay. The farmer was stuck in a corn picker! Papa took the machine apart and took him to the hospital. If he hadn’t seen the pheasant, waved to the farmer and returned again, the farmer would have died. Papa gives credit to the pheasant, but everyone else gives him the credit.

Every day a trooper goes to work, he/she puts their life on the line to help others even when off duty. When Papa went to work every day, he wouldn’t know if he would save someone’s life, get shot at, arrest a criminal, stop a crime, or not come home at all. My grandpa calls himself retired, but he is not really. He stills carries a gun around 24/7 to protect the people of Michigan.

Papa is my hero, because he is always there for me, he is always honest, and will always love me and want the best for me. We do fun things together like going hunting, building things, and taking rides on his ATV. He is always helping people and putting others first. He is well respected by his friends and family.

My grandpa, Roy Bolin, has done many heroic things and does not like to take credit for them. I hope he knows how much good he has done with his life, and he’s not done yet! I am proud of my grandpa, and I love him.

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