St. Joes eighth graders win America & Me essay contest

By Carol Azizian

Review Contributor

Three St. Joseph School eighth grade students were named winners in the America & Me Essay Contest, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.

Holden Wolfe

Holden Wolfe of Lake Orion won first place for his essay about his immigrant grandfather. He wrote: “When the Communist North Vietnamese were invading the South, he (Sai Pham) guided his wife and nine children to the U.S. Embassy, where they escaped to America. Eventually, they settled in Lansing, Michigan. My grandfather is my American hero because he is responsible, hard-working, and extremely patriotic.”

Samantha Bastedo

Samantha Bastedo of Oxford won second place. She wrote about her late father, Charles Bastedo. “I grew up with him, and as the years went by, our relationship was unbreakable…My father was the best man anyone could’ve asked for,” she wrote.

Olivea Vallieres

Third-place winner Olivea Vallieres of Oxford wrote about her aunt. “My hero is my aunt, Heidi Young. Suffering from cancer, she is a firm believer in Christ. She always has the most outgoing and positive attitude of any person I’ve met. She is an incredible person. My aunt has impacted my life in a major way because she is strong, spiritual, and wise.”

Several thousand eighth grade students from nearly 400 Michigan schools participated in the 2019-20 contest. The topic was “My Personal Michigan Hero.” The top 10 statewide winners were announced in April. St. Joseph’s participation was sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance agent Wayne Haney of Romeo.

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