Quincy student wins kudos for writing
They say patience pays. In Braiden Snyder’s case, it does, and so does patriotism.
Braiden, a fourth-grader at Quincy Valley School, had to wait a few months to hear how his entries in two essay contests, by two veterans’ groups, had fared, but he got good news in the end.
In a youth essay contest sponsored by the local post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Braiden took first place for his writing about what the flag means to him.
“The American flag makes me feel safe, proud and united with others,” the essay began, “because of the veterans and how they sacrificed themselves so I can live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
In an essay contest sponsored by the local post of the American Legion, his essay on homeless veterans also took first place.
“I have two ideas about how we can address and prevent veteran homelessness in our communities,” he wrote, going on to suggest creating a job-placement assistance program, and requiring them to have a mental health evaluation before their discharge.
“It was (a) hard (topic) to figure out,” he said. “It was a different topic than I have ever had to write about.”
In the Veterans of Foreign Wars contest, Braiden advanced all the way to the state level of the youth essay competition, which includes students up to fifth grade. At state, Braiden also earned first place, earning a total of $375 between local, regional and state competitions.
In the American Legion contest, Braiden took first place at state among writers of his age group, while his sister Clairese (two years older) won state in her group.
While the VFW contest is over, the siblings will advance to the national round of the American Legion’s contest.
Braiden wrote the essays in September, but had to wait until earlier this year to find out how he had fared.
“I feel proud of myself, (and) happy,” he said of his performance in both contests. He participated in the essay contest for the VFW and took first place in his grade locally but did not advance any further.
This year, with a little guidance from his mother and with a little bit of experience from having written essays for 4-H, he tried again, and now has a few bucks to show for it.
“I like writing because it gives me the chance to write about something that I can write about,” said Braiden. “It also helps me build confidence in myself.”
The VFW is already accepting applications for grades 3-5 to enter in next year’s contest. The topic this time around is: How I would encourage respect to the flag of the United States. Essays are due Oct. 31 at the local post and must not be longer than 250 words.
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org