Colin Chimera, a sixth-grader at Midlakes Intermediate School, was named the first-place winner of the Phelps American Legion Post No. 457 Veteran’s Day Essay Contest for writing about “What the Flag (U.S.) Means to Me.”
Mia McMahon was named the second place winner and Azrielle Cahill finished third among English-language arts sixth graders in Kayleigh Sheppard and Kristen Quagliata classes.
"I wanted to give it something more, something different from what everyone else wrote," said Colin. "I thought about my grandpa who served in Vietnam and my uncle who was in Afghanistan. We've had people in politics … people who went to jail, got hurt or even died. I wanted to include all these different things about what the flag means to me."
He won $300 for the winning essay and was invited to a Veterans Day gathering with the local Legion in November to celebrate the moment. "I couldn’t believe it," Colin said. "I thought it was something we would write and get graded on in class. It made parents really happy."