The Voice of Democracy competition, sponsored by the National Broadcasters Association in conjunction with the V.F.W., calls for senior high school students to prepare and record a spoken essay on patriotism - this year's assignment focused on heroism.
In this division, Melissa Frederick won First Place, followed by Sarah Fuller, 2nd; Ashley Maresca, third; and Edward Jay, fourth.
Frederick's essay extended the concept of heroism beyond veterans and service men and women, exploring the selfless dedication of those in human-service agencies - particularly volunteers - working to alleviate poverty, hunger, abuse and oppression.
"It doesn't matter how we harness our inner hero, as long as we all take our inherent goodness and use it for the betterment of the world around us," she concluded in her narration.
Paul Mazur, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Adirondack Community College was the ceremony's guest speaker. Once a Political Science and Russian Language professor, he advised the students that writing a compelling essay not only required a persuasive argument, but comprehensive research.
V.F.W. Chaplain Ron Roberts, in his ceremonial invocation, recognized soldiers on duty overseas and urged all to remember former North Warren student Jeremiah Monroe, who was killed in action this summer in Afghanistan.
The veterans onstage were presented with a special gift of a letter of sentiment and a depiction of a patriotic star, both crafted by student Joseph Allen. The letter called for all to remember the veterans, particularly at Christmas time.
Kubaryk said she was enjoyed the competition, because of the students had the opportunity to meet and get to know the veterans.
"The students, by investing their time and energy, are giving a gift to the veterans," she said. "Also, I appreciate the strong community support."