LANSING - Success came early in the lives of eighth-graders, Sarah Anderson, a student at Holy Name Catholic School in Escanaba, and Daniel Farnsworth, a student at Bark River-Harris School.
Both were among the top 10 statewide winners in the 44th annual America & Me Essay Contest and attended a recent award ceremony in Lansing. The topic for this year's essay contest was "My Personal Michigan Hero."
Out of a total of more than 4,500 essays submitted by students from over 450 Michigan schools, Sara placed second in the competition with an essay entitled, "My Grandpa, My Michigan Hero." She is the daughter of Karen Anderson of Escanaba. Daniel's essay earned him seventh-place honors. He is the son of Scott and Estalla Farnsworth of Wilson.
Sarah Anderson, above center, second-place winner on the state level in the America & Me Essay Contest sponsored by Farm Bureau, Insurance, is flanked by company and state dignitaries. She is pictured with: from left, Attorney Marty Fittante, Patt Fittante, Sarah’s mother Karen Anderson, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Farm Bureau Insurance agent Rick Jensen, and state Sen. Tom Casperson. Sara’s winning essay is printed below.
The top ten winners and their parents and teachers were treated like visiting dignitaries during the awards day in Lansing. They started out aboard the Michigan Princess Riverboat, where they were welcomed by employees of Farm Bureau Insurance. They then proceeded to the Richard Austin Building where they met with Mike Senyko, Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who presented a congratulatory letter to each winner on behalf of the Secretary of State. Then it was off to the State Capitol Building where they met with Lt. Governor Brain Calley in the Governor's Ceremonial Room and received Certificates of Recognition signed by both Lt. Governor Brian Calley and Governor Rick Snyder.
The top ten winners were also the featured guests at a Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball game at Cooley Law School Stadium, where they were honored on the field in pre-game ceremonies.
The festivities continued at Grand River Park aboard the Michigan Princess Riverboat where the winners attended an awards luncheon. Jim Robinson, Executive Vice President and CEO of Farm Bureau Insurance, presented each winner with a plaque and a cash award of $1,000.
"I feel very good about the future of Michigan when I see what fantastic young people we have in this state," Robinson told the winners. "You are an inspiration, and all of us at Farm Bureau Insurance are very proud of you."