Osage Co winners 1A Linn High School 12th grader and a St. Joseph Catholic School, Westphalia, 8th grader are this year’s grand prize winners in Vitae Foundation’s Contest on Life Issues. Shelby Voss, Linn, a 12th grader at Linn High School, and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Plassmeyer of Westphalia, an 8th grader at St. Joseph Catholic School claimed the top grand prizes. Each threw out a ceremonial first pitch before the start of the July 27 St. Louis Cardinals game. The contest was a component of Osage County Night at the Ballpark.

Vitae’s essay contest engaged the younger residents of Osage County in the discussion of life issues. Voss’s essay was titled: “It Takes a Village,” and focused on drug addiction, while Plassmeyer’s was titled: “From an Aborted Baby’s Point of View.” The essay contest was made possible through a generous grant from the Alphonse J. Schwartze Foundation, which is also funding a radio ad campaign for Vitae on the St. Louis Cardinals Radio Network, the largest in Major League Baseball, during the 2017 season.Osage Co winners 2

“As the contest deadline approached, we were pleased with the initial tally, and thought ‘nice job, Osage County!’ Then a couple more came in, and then a dozen and then a whole class! The final result totaled 129 submissions to the essay contest this year. That was 32 more essays than last year! The grant allowed us to give four tickets to each contest participant. The students wrote with passion and exercised critical thinking. I can only image how proud the students’ parents and teachers must be. Great job to all!” Vitae Senior Market Director Stacey Kromer stated. To read the winning essays, go to www.vitaefoundation.com/blog.

The grand prize winners and each class winner received four box-seat tickets. All other contest entrants received four seats in the sections reserved for the Osage County Night attendees. Additional winners included:

► Hannah Plassmeyer, Grade 12, Osage County R-III, Fatima

► Rylie Kever, Grade 11, Helias Catholic High School

► Alison Kever, Grade 10, Helias Catholic High School

► Alese Stratman, Grade 9, Osage County R-III, Fatima

► Natalie Samson, Grade 8, Osage County R-III, Fatima

► Jake Boyce, Grade 8, Immaculate Conception, Loose Creek

► Elizabeth Brandt, Grade 8, St. George, Linn

► Ryan Bexten, Grade 8, Sacred Heart, Freeburg

The All-Star Staff Contest was expanded this year to include a first pitch opportunity, batting practice, personal photo in the Cardinals dugout, a VIP tour of Busch Stadium, passes to the Cardinals Hall of Fame along with All-Star Suite tickets. Joanna Baughman, a 9th grade teacher at Fatima, and Lisa Grellner, a St. George Linn 8th grade teacher, had the highest student participation by percentage.