TROY — Troy High School senior Heidi Hansbarger captured first place in the Troy post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy Audio Essay Contest. Hansbarger’s essay will move on to compete in the district level competition. For winning at the local post level, Hansbarger was awarded $400 to be donated to a school organization or local charity of her choice. She chose to award her earnings to the Troy High School color guard.
Other Troy High School award recipients, earning $200 each for a local charity or school organization of their choice, were Molly Montgomery, Grant Klopfenstein, Thomas Begley and Abigail Van Hook.
The Voice of Democracy program began in 1946 and allows students the flexibility to develop topics of their choice based on a theme that changes each year. This year’s theme was, “What Makes America Great.” In the contest, students must write a 3-5 minute essay, which they then record. Students are judged on originality, content and delivery.
Hansbarger was surprised to learn that she had won first place from her College Credit Plus speech teacher, Irene Imboden.
“I almost didn’t enter,” Hansbarger said. “I wanted to honor both veterans and the American freedoms we are lucky to have. I was able to include some things I learned in government last year to support what really makes America great.”
“I think Heidi is an artist in every sense of the word,” Imboden said. “Her choice of words for this contest really shows off her writing ability and her passion for her interests.”
Dave Hatcher of the Troy VFW, who chairs the contest at the Troy Post level, said that he and his committee of VFW judges found it hard to pick a winner from among the Troy High School students’ essays.
“We read and listened to each one three to four times,” Hatcher said. “I thought they all were really good. It gives me hope for the next generation. These students care about and know what’s going on in the nation. They want to make America a better country.”