The Veterans of Foreign Wars William Wharton Post 379 and the Ladies Auxiliary to the VFW Post 379, Yakima, have announced the winners of the local Voice of Democracy contest, for grades nine through 12, and Patriot’s Pen Essay contest for grades six through eight.

The Voice of Democracy topic was “Why I’m Optimistic About Our Nation’s Future.” Applicants had to write and record a broadcast script. The top four local winners are: first, Brandon Spicer, senior, Selah High School; second, Ryan Miller, senior, Selah High School; third, Christine Munson, sophomore, Eisenhower High School, and fourth, Nick Miller, senior, Selah High School.

This year’s Patriot’s Pen Essay topic was “What Patriotism Means to Me.”Applicants had to complete a 300 to 400 word essay. The top three local winners were all from Riverside Christian School: first, Victoria Cole, eighth grade; second, Sarah Immel, seventh grade; and third, Nicole LeBlanc, eighth grade.

Local winning submissions go on to compete in the district competition. District winners proceed to state and state winners to nationals, where the top prizes are $30,000 and $5,000. Questions about the competition can be forwarded to David Fuwell, Jr. Vice Commander, VFW William Wharton Post 379, 118 S. Fifth Ave. Yakima, WA 98902.

Prosser High School senior Hailey Nunez received a $1,000 scholarship from the Washington Apple Education Foundation for her first-place finish in the 2013 Washington State FFA Apple Judging Competition Dec. 4. The competition was held in Wenatchee during the Washington State Horticultural Association’s annual meeting. For the past 10 years, the Washington Apple Education Foundation has awarded the top place finisher with a $1,000 scholarship, sponsored annually by the North Central Washington Fieldmans Association and the Yakima Pomological Club.