Local students lauded by Rotary for their written words

One by one, eight Anoka-Hennepin elementary school students stepped up to the podium and – with practiced articulation and polished poise – read their award-winning essays.

Writing contest winners pose for a portrait after reading their winning essays during the May 20 Coon Rapids Rotary Club meeting. Pictured here are (front row, left to right) Paige Hauser, Brooke Bauer, Mari Whiteford, Drew Kaluza and Rubi Villanueva; and (back row, left to right) Rylee Gjesvold, Faye Lewis and MacKenzie Kalbow. Photo by Sue Austreng

Writing contest winners pose for a portrait after reading their winning essays during the May 20 Coon Rapids Rotary Club meeting. Pictured here are (front row, left to right) Paige Hauser, Brooke Bauer, Mari Whiteford, Drew Kaluza and Rubi Villanueva; and (back row, left to right) Rylee Gjesvold, Faye Lewis and MacKenzie Kalbow. Photo by Sue Austreng

The students had been named first- and second-place winners of the 2013 Coon Rapids Rotary/Anoka Hennepin Educational Foundation writing contest and they read their essays during the May 20 meeting of the Coon Rapids Rotary Club.

Working with the assigned topic, “Your Special Someone,” the young authors wrote about furry canine companions and the loyalty and fun afforded when romping around with the family dog. They reminisced about warm meals grandma makes with heaping helpings of love. They thanked dads and moms for always believing in them – and making chore time fun time, too. Even a stuffed animal was celebrated as a special someone.

In recognition of the young writers’ winning ways, students received commemorative certificates and monetary prizes (first prize, $25; second prize, $20; third prize, $15; honorable mention prize, $5).

The 2013 contest marked the 33rd time Coon Rapids Rotary and Anoka Hennepin Educational Foundation have teamed up to sponsor the contest.

This year, students were asked to write about the special someone in their lives, describing what makes him or her special and being careful to “build word pictures that will let your readers feel that they are with you in the story,” as described in the entry form.

Some 175 students entered the contest this year.

Educational Foundation board member and writing contest coordinator Phyllis Haensel said Coon Rapids Rotary Club has sponsored the contest beginning in 1981, and the organizational sponsor previous to Anoka Hennepin Educational Foundation was the Anoka Chapter of the Minnesota Council for Gifted and Talented, which no longer exists.

For the 2013 contest, entries were judged by a team of Anoka Hennepin Educational Foundation board members and several community organizations helped underwrite the event. Those organizations are ABC Newspapers/ECM Printing, Centerpoint Energy, Central Bank, Connexus Energy, Coon Rapids Chrysler-Jeep, Green Bay Packaging, HOM Furniture, Infinite Campus and Pentair Equipment.

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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