Eighth grader Caroline Neihoff of East Rockford Middle School was announced as one of 10 statewide winners in Farm Bureau Insurance’s America and Me Essay Contest. The theme of the annual contest is “My Personal Michigan Hero.”
“I am so proud of all of our statewide winner’s this year,” said Farm Bureau Insurance CEO Jim Robinson. “Not just for your writing skills, but for your involvement in your school and in your communities across the state.”
Caroline’s essay earned 9th place in the state out of approximately 3,500 essays submitted by students from nearly 350 Michigan schools. Neihoff, of Rockford, attended the ceremony with her parents, James and Anna. She received an engraved plaque and a $1,000 cash award during awards ceremonies in Lansing May 15, 2018. Eighth graders from across the state participated in the 49th annual contest.
Open to any eighth grade student in Michigan, the America & Me Essay Contest was developed in 1968 to encourage Michigan youth 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.
The top statewide winners and their parents and teachers were treated like visiting dignitaries during the awards day in Lansing. Activities started aboard the Michigan Princess Riverboat, where the winning essayists were welcomed by employees of Farm Bureau Insurance. They then proceeded to the State Capitol Building and met with Governor Rick Snyder at the State Capitol. They then received congratulatory letters from Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s Chief of Staff, Mike Senyko, at the Treasury Building. The statewide winners were also the featured guests at a Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball game at Cooley Law School Stadium, where they were honored on the field in pre-game ceremonies.
The festivities came to a close at Grand River Park aboard the Michigan Princess Riverboat where the winners attended an awards luncheon. After lunch, Jim Robinson, CEO of Farm Bureau Insurance, presented each winner with their plaque and cash award.
Final ranking of the winners was determined by a panel of VIP judges comprised of Farm Bureau Insurance CEO, Jim Robinson; contest founder, Jack Stucko; and a teacher of one of the 10 statewide winners in last year’s contest.