On Thursday, Jan. 31, the Fred E Ellis VFW and Auxiliary honored students and faculty from the McPherson and surrounding areas by holding an awards ceremony for their involvement in the programs.

The Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest is open to students in grades 6-8 and this year’s theme was “Why I Honor the American Flag.” There were a total of 23 participants from four different schools in McPherson and Harvey Counties.

First place was awarded to Sophia Stutley, Newton, second place was awarded to Micah Kruse, Newton and third place was awarded to Josie Fitzmorris, McPherson.

The Voice of Democracy Audio Essay Contest is open to students in grades 9-12 and this year’s theme was “Why My Vote Matters.” There were eight participants and first place was awarded to Cade Schneider, Smoky Valley.

The VFW and Auxiliary also recognized Angela Black, a second grade teacher who was nominated by the Principal of Walton Rural School for her efforts to promote patriotism in the classroom.