Three students from North Rockford Middle School have been named local winners in the 43rd annual America & Me Essay Contest. Katie Mullen earned first, Carly Behrendt, second, and Isaac Younker, third place. As the school’s first-place winner, Mullen’s essay will now advance to the state competition. Several thousand eighth-grade students from over 400 Michigan schools participated in the essay contest. The topic of the contest was “My Personal Michigan Hero.” Started in 1968, the contest encourages Michigan youth to explore the greatness of America and its people. The contest is sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.