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A youngster from Montana celebrates veterans in an essay that won an award



Great Falls, Montana – At Holy Spirit Catholic School in Great Falls, patriotism is still very much alive and well, as seen by the prize given to a student in the eighth grade.

Colter Franklin acknowledges that he felt anxious before the entire school body on Monday when he read his essay, “My Pledge to Our Veterans.”

He did it, though, with a sense of pride.

Colter finished first out of hundreds of other Montana contestants and was the only student from Great Falls to place in the top three.

Students are given a prompt that encourages them to write an essay of 300 to 400 words that explores both their own experiences and American history.

This year’s topic was “Why is the Veteran Important?”

“I just started throwing all my thoughts down on paper and I thought to myself, I could just talk about the Pledge of Allegiance because it’s a pledge to our veterans,” said Franklin.

Nearly 68,800 kids nationwide participate in the competition. The national champion receives $5,000, while state winners receive $500.

Franklin’s efforts were rewarded with a $200 scholarship, but he needed some prodding to sign up.

“My teacher said that it was a really good essay,” said Franklin. “I wasn’t going to (enter) at the beginning but she really likes so I thought, well why not. If I don’t win, it’s still a good experience.”

The surprise presentation was also attended by his parents, Brandon and Raylene Franklin.

The judges were impressed with his entry.

“When reading his, you can hear the belief, hear the honesty, hear the passion behind it,” said Bill McCord, Post Commander for VFW Post 1087. “It really touched us all.”

While Colter is unsure of his plans for the money and even which high school he will attend, he is certain of his admiration for soldiers.

“Thank you to our veterans, for your service,” said Franklin.


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