BY LEANN DILBECK-
Three Mena students took top honors at the recent “God, Flag & Country” international speech competition sponsored by the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. Students were responsible for the composition of their speeches focusing on “God, Flag & Country” and their speech presentation of no more than three minutes.
The competition was held in Reno, Nevada. Ninth grade student Braeden Purvis and eighth grade student Amy Williams won in their local division to advance to compete in Reno where Braeden earned 2nd place in the 14-15 age division, and Amy placed 4th in the 12-13 age division. Fifth grade student Autumn Landrum won in her local competition as well as in Reno in the 10-11 age division.
The students earned $2,500 each at the local division to pay for the expenses to compete in Reno. In Reno, all students automatically earned $750, plus Autumn won $1,000 and Braeden earned $500.
The girls quickly admitted spending all of their earnings on clothes, phone, pool and other “necessary” items while Braeden said his earnings are tucked safely in the bank.
Braeden is the son of Rod and Karen Purvis. Autumn is the daughter of D.J. and Jennifer Landrum. Amy is the daughter of Marsha and Charley Williams. Both the parents and the students expressed their appreciation to the Eagles for the tremendous opportunity and summer trip they made possible for the children.
Cliff Wherley of the local Eagles chapter expressed his appreciation to Ms. Thacker, Ms. Wimberly, and Ms. Wells who really “got behind it and encouraged these kids to participate.” Wherley said he plans to acknowledge each of the teachers’ contributions in school assemblies.
All three quickly said that they plan to compete again next year. Wherley said he couldn’t be more proud of the excellent job these students did in representing, not only Mena, but Arkansas.