WELLS — In a school wide assembly honoring veterans at Wells Junior High School on Dec. 8, four students were recognized in front of their peers for placing in this year’s patriotic themed Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest sponsored locally by VFW Post 6545 in Kennebunk.

Each year, this national creative writing contest provides interested students a central theme to ponder and write about. This year’s theme was “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans”.

Those placing included eighth graders first place winner Daisy Aromando, second place winner Delaney O’Brien and third place winner Hailey Tostenson.

Also placing was Wells High School freshman Estelle Reardon, who received Second Place in Voice of Democracy, the VFW’s high school version of Patriot’s Pen.

“The contest gives students a great opportunity to write essays expressing their views on democracy,” said WJHS ELA eighth grade teacher Julie Esch. “All three of this year’s (WJHS) winners were from my class, and I am extremely proud of their fine writing.”

According to Esch, Daisy Aromando’s first place essay will advance to regional competition for judging.

“Essays are judged on how well students understand, develop, and present themes,” said Esch.

First place winners at the regional level can advance to the VFW’s state and national competitions.

Shortly after the assembly, the Wreaths Across America caravan made a brief, curb stop at Wells Junior High School on its annual trek to Arlington, Virginia with thousands of holiday wreaths for Arlington National Cemetery.