Essay Winners

Overall winners of the Character Counts! in Montgomery County Foundations for Life Essay Contest were, from left, Adam Cox, Drew Blaydes and Logan Hieber.

Three-quarters of a century after dying in the Holocaust, Anne Frank remains a symbol for speaking out against intolerance.

Eighth grader Adam Cox turned to the pages of Frank’s diary as he called on classmates to not be prejudiced against others in an essay for the Characters Counts! in Montgomery County Foundations for Life Essay Contest.

“Throughout school, a lot of people are judged based on what they look like, what sports they play, extra-curricular activities,” said Cox, 14, who attends Southmont Jr. High School.

Cox was among the overall winners of this year’s contest, which included students from each of the county’s school districts. Writers selected a quote and related it to their lives using the pillars of the Character Counts! program. The pillars are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

Winners received cash prizes during a ceremony Tuesday at Crawfordsville High School.

Schools submitted essays to a Character Counts! committee, which selected a pool of finalists for the organization’s board to vote on.

“And the joy that I get from it is recognizing that so many of these essays are not primarily about destination,” board president Steve Whicker said. “They’re not primarily about where I want to be, but it’s about the choices that we’re making today because we recognize we don’t ultimately choose our destinations on a daily basis, we choose our directions.”

North Montgomery High School senior Logan Hieber wrote about his grandfather as a model for caring for others. His grandfather was known for scraping ice from cars at his wife’s workplace.

“I didn’t really know him all that well. He passed away when I was at a very young age, but from the stories … I could tell he was a very caring and kind person,” said Hieber, 17, the overall high school winner.

Ten-year-old New Market fourth grader Drew Blaydes won the overall elementary-level award with an essay encouraging classmates to make friends.

Other winners included:

Grades 3-5

Emerie Venis and Napoleon Johnson; Hoover Elementary

Graeme Mason; Nicholson Elementary

Katelyn Woolwine; Sommer Elementary

Carter Thompson; Sugar Creek Elementary

Blayke Braun; Pleasant Hill Elementary

Aubrey Lyon; New Market Elementary

Jaysa Crull; Ladoga Elementary School

Grades 6-8

Brooklyn Hamm, Emily Powell, Dakota Smith; Crawfordsville Middle School

Teegan Bacon, Cassandra Bone, Shayna Ratcliff; Northridge Middle School

Krystle Sanabria and Cooper Smith; Southmont Jr. High School

Grades 9-12

Noell Baer, Drake Hayes, Isabella Wilson; Crawfordsville High School

Jaxon Plant and Kaylee Walkup; North Montgomery High School

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