A Fatima High School 12th grader and a St. George Catholic School, Linn, 8th grader are this year’s grand prize winners in Vitae Foundation’s Contest on Life Issues. Kendra Winkelman of Freeburg, a 12th grader at Fatima High School, and Ellie Plume of Linn, an 8th grader at St. George Catholic School claimed the top grand prizes. Each threw out a ceremonial first pitch before the start of the July 31 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. Winkelman’s essay was titled: “The Abortion Debate, while Plume’s was titled: “How Can We Stop Bullying and Promote Life? 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 2018 season.

“The response this year was tremendous! It was an avalanche of essays from Osage County. We received more essays than ever before. The final result totaled 220 submissions to the essay contest this year. That was 91 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 imagine how proud the students’ parents and teachers must be. Great job to all!” Vitae Senior Market Director Stacey Kromer stated.

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:

► Marla Voss, Grade 11, Osage County R-II, Linn

► Jenna Reinkemeyer, Grade 10, Osage County R-III, Fatima

► Lexi Poston, Grade 9, Osage County R-III, Fatima

► Jovie Hardison, Grade 8, Osage County R-III, Fatima

► Alexandra Kliethermes, Grade 8, St. Joseph, Westphalia

► Allison Haslag, Grade 8, Immaculate Conception, Loose Creek

► Kailey Spencer, Grade 8, Osage County R-II, Linn

► Meaghan Frank, Grade 8, Sacred Heart, Freeburg

► Sarah Groene, Grade 7, St. Joseph, Westphalia

► Sierra Pollard, Grade 7, St. George, Linn

► Blaine Winslow, Grade 7, Osage County RII, Linn

The All-Star Staff Contest included 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. Jennifer Holland, an 8th grade teacher at St. Joseph, Westphalia, and Allie Claycomb, an 8th grade teacher at Linn Middle School, had the highest student participation by percentage.

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Ceremonial first pitch,
Kendra Winkelman.

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Ceremonial first pitch, Ellie Plume.