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Governor and First Lady Congratulate Student From Roanoke / Chesterfield Who Earned Top Honors in Essay Contest

An eighth-grade student from Roanoke and a high school sophomore from Chesterfield County were the first place winners in the Virginia War Memorial’s 2022 Veterans Day Student Essay Contest. The winners were announced at the 66th Annual Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony held Friday, November 11 at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.

The winner in the middle school category is Mason Bibby, who attends North Cross School in Roanoke.  His teacher is Mrs. Robin Garrett.

The winner in the high school category is Katie Wittenbraker, a 10th grade student at Monacan High School in Chesterfield.  Ms. Erica Harris is her teacher.

The annual contest was open to middle and high school age students throughout Virginia enrolled in public or private schools or homeschooled. The essay topic for the 2022 competition was, “A Virginian who served in the United States Military during the Vietnam War who inspires me.”

The contest winners, Mason Bibby and Katie Wittenbraker, traveled to Richmond accompanied by their parents and teachers, and read aloud their essays on stage as part of the Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony.  Each winner received a prize package presented by the Virginia War Memorial Foundation.

The students were personally congratulated by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, First Lady Suzanne Youngkin, and Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Craig Crenshaw.

“We join with all our fellow Virginians in congratulating Katie and Mason on their winning entries in our 2022 Veterans Day Student Essay Contest and also congratulate all of the students from throughout the Commonwealth that took the time to write essays and participated this year,” said Dr. Clay Mountcastle, Virginia War Memorial Director. “Thanks also to Katie and Mason’s teachers, Mrs. Garrett and Ms. Harris, who encouraged them to write their submissions. Educating our young people and passing on the stories of service and sacrifice of our men and women who served is one of our most important missions here at the Virginia War Memorial. With their inspiring words, these students demonstrate the importance of this mission.”

The winning essays are posted online on the Virginia War Memorial Foundation website:

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