Among the many young Branford students invited to write about "What Memorial Day Means to Me," 10 essayists and poets earned some special recognition in May.
The annual Captain Thomas Yester Memorial Day essay contest, organized by the Branford Veterans Parade Committee, was supported with prizes generously sponsored by the Branford Community Foundation. The judges selected an essay by Walsh Intermediate School (WIS) 7th-grader Drake Caruthers as first prize winner, awarding him a $100 gift card. The runner up prize was awarded to WIS 7th-grader Anthony Borelli, who received a $75 gift card. In addition, eight finalists each received a $25 gift card for their work.
Caruthers and Borelli, students of WIS teacher Patricia Mooney, were also invited to read their winning essays during the pre-parade Memorial Day ceremonies on the Branford Green on May 26. Branford Superintendent of Schools Hamlet Hernandez (USMC Lt. Col., Retired), served as 2014 Branford Memorial Day parade marshal.
In his first-prize essay, Caruthers wrote: "To me, Memorial Day is the day to memorialize the people who have fought and died for this country. Memorial Day is a day to recognize our freedom and the people who fought for it. Memorial Day is the moment of silence we take to remember our country's past and how the people of our military have heroically sacrificed themselves for the freedom of us, the people of the United States of America. Memorial Day is a day when the families of the deceased who have fought in our wars get together and remember their bravery, honor, purity, and blood."