Student essay wins and advances

Published 10:43 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2019

American Legion Post 88 visited John Yeates Middle School on Monday to honor Caroline Robinson, the 12-year-old seventh-grader who won this year’s essay contest held by Post 88.

Caroline and her classmates each handwrote an essay that started with “I like living in America because,” followed by one notebook page of their reasons why, according to Caroline’s English teacher, Jennifer Niemi.

The contest is held annually by the American Legion, and this year’s participants for Post 88 were John Yeates middle and Col. Fred Cherry middle schools.


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American Legion Post 88 Commander Gerald Soucheray and Essay Chairman Bryan Wright presented the legion’s certificate of appreciation to Caroline and her family at the school, plus a $25 Visa gift card. Niemi also received a $75 Visa gift card for classroom supplies.

“I think it’s fantastic that our young people are recognized by the American Legion,” said Caroline’s father, Robert Robinson. “They’re a fantastic organization.”

Robinson is a senior chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy with 19 years of experience. He is a submarine sonar technician. Caroline has a deep appreciation for the military through her dad, and she made that clear in her essay.

“My dad is in the military, (and) he’s taught me a lot about veterans,” she said, “so I really appreciate them and what they’ve done for us.”

Her honest answers left a great impression on the American Legion judges.

“It’s just such a genuine response to the question,” Wright said. “Caroline is just a fine example of a young American who’s proud of her country.”

Her essay will advance to compete with other students at the American Legion district level, including the cities of Franklin, Smithfield and other surrounding communities. The district-level winner will be awarded in April before advancing to the department level in Richmond.

This contest is one of several programs that American Legion Post 88 does with local organizations and schools like JYMS. They also help with beautification projects, canned food drives and more.

“The American Legion is a trusted partner of John Yeates Middle School,” said Assistant Principal Tim Kubinak. “They’re really easy to work with, and they really do have the best interests of our students at heart.”