Elks Lodge Americanism Student Essays Selected for District Competition

(l to r): Judging Instructions: Essay Chairperson Irene Romero and Shirley Bauchiero.
(l to r): Judging Instructions: Essay Chairperson Irene Romero and Shirley Bauchiero.

Mission Viejo / Saddleback Valley Elks Lodge No. 2444 (“Elks Lodge”) volunteers reviewed over 100 Americanism essays submitted by Division I (5th, 6th) and Division II (7th and 8th) students from the Saddleback Valley and Capistrano Unified School Districts. This year’s competition required students to submit an essay of 250 words or less on this year’s essay theme, “What Does Veterans Day Mean to Me?” The Elks Lodge student essay selections were from the following students:

Division I
1. Benjamin Geisheimer, Mission Viejo, Glen Yermo Elementary
2. Katherine Gonzalez, Mission Viejo, Glen Yermo Elementary
3. Cesar Najera, Mission Viejo, Glen Yermo Elementary

Division II
1. Victoria Cathcart, Lake Forest, Serrano Intermediate
2. Madison Thomas, Lake Forest, Serrano Intermediate
3. Alyssa Koliha, Lake Forest, Serrano Intermediate

The essays from these students have been sent to the Elks Orange Coast District (“OCD”) for further competition. Finalists from the OCD will be sent to the California-Hawaii Elks Association (“CHEA”) competition. The CHEA winner will be announced in May.

Elks Lodge Americanism Essay Chairperson and Past Exalted Ruler Irene Romero said, “The student essays reflected a deep appreciation of the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families. The students described the meaning of Veterans Day and the diverse ways in which they observed that day. Congratulations to the student winners.”

Elks Lodge volunteers reviewing the essays were:

Lake Forest: Irene Romero, Charlie Hart
Laguna Hills: Jan Newberry, Andy Costello
Mission Viejo: Shirley Bauchiero, Richard and Lynette Holmes, Clint McDonald and Hal Mattson.

The Mission Viejo / Saddleback Elks Lodge No. 2444, celebrating forty-four (44) years of service to the Saddleback Valley communities, is one of ten lodges in the Orange Coast District of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) whose headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois. The BPOE is a charitable organization with a 146 year history of giving, “Elks Care, Elks Share.”


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