Sullivan Student National Essay Winner

Six Sullivan students all won honors in the "Americanism Essay Contest," a contest that's sponsored by the Elks Lodges across America. It's open to students from 5th-8th grades. And this year, one Sullivan student made history.

Jeff Lookeville, with the Sullivan Elks #911 said, "I think it helps promote patriotism in our town."

Every year, Sullivan elementary and grade school students write an essay on a topic about Americanism and compete on a local, district, state and national level.

"This year, it was what the Pledge of the Allegiance means to me," explained Lookeville.

"It means a lifetime of opportunity to explore who i want to be and the freedom that goes with it," said 6th grader Lexie Baker.

This year was an especially good year for students in Sullivan.

Lookeville said, "This year we had all six of our students won locally and at the district level."

And one of those students went on to become a national winner. Lexie Baker's essay took first place out of all of the participating 6th and 7th graders.

"I was a little shocked," said Lexie.

And excited. Lexie and her family found out after an email was sent to her mom's account.

Lexie said, "She was really happy and screamed"

Lexie's essay was inspired by a Memorial Day service she witnessed at her church.

She said, "They were talking about how it was difficult to be in the military and army. And I watched a slide show from all of the men who served in our church."

She says she spent days putting the essay together.

"There was a word limit," Lexie explained. "And so when I kept writing, I had to keep cutting. So, it took a while to get all the words right.

Lookeville said, "There's a lot of thought and preparation for the kids."

And the result speaks for itself.

"This was our first national winner. And it's just exceptional that out of all the kids that participate and all the Elks Lodges across the state, we were fortunate enough to have a first place winner," he said.

Lexie and the winners from the area all read their essays to the crowd following Sullivan's Memorial Day service, something the Elks Lodge has been doing for nearly 15 years.

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