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Students make local history

| April 30, 2010 9:00 PM

The first round of applause goes to three fine young writers. The second round goes to their school. And the third round? Well, that needs to wait awhile. Allow us to explain

The first round of applause goes to three fine young writers.

The second round goes to their school.

And the third round? Well, that needs to wait awhile. Allow us to explain.

The Press editorial staff just finished judging some 250 outstanding essays submitted by middle school-age students in the annual Knights of Columbus Patriotic Essay Contest. Led by one of our leading local patriots and all-around do-gooders, Graham Crutchfield, the Knights have conducted this contest for several years not just to highlight superior writing from young people but to get them thinking about how important events in U.S. history impact us even today.

This year's subject was a tough one: What did the Lewis and Clark Expedition do for my family? The contest was promoted in the newspaper and was open to all sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in Kootenai County, regardless of their participation in public school, private school or home school. Crutchfield and his fellow Knights put up prize money - $200 for first place, $100 for second place and $50 for third - to make the competition more attractive.

First round of applause: We'll spill the beans and tell you that sixth-grader Hayden Zeimantz was named the unanimous winner by our judges. Eighth-grader Taylor Garn took second, and seventh-grader Emma McCormick finished third. Late next week, we'll introduce you to these fine students and share their essays with you.

Second round of applause: All three of these students attend Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy. Charter is nationally recognized as an outstanding college preparatory school, but that isn't the only reason three Charter students from three different grades took the top three prizes. The overwhelming majority of entries came from Charter, which leads us to our third cheer.

And as we indicated earlier, this one must wait. It will wait until other students and educators decide that the patriotic essay contest is valuable not just to the winners, but to every student who participates in the exercise. Until then, Charter rules.

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