Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Kerk and Bettcher among youth essay winners

The Germans from Russia Heritage Society (GRHS) has announced international winners of their 2008 Youth Essay Contest, according to Youth Committee Chairman Vera Hoff in her GRHS Youth Committee Annual Report. There were three categories of competition: Middle School, High School, and University. Entries came from across the United States, Canada, and Ukraine.

The winner of the Middle School division is Janna Kerk, a 6th grader from Southwest Middle School in Rapid City, South Dakota, whose essay was entitled, “German Russians.”

Janna reportedly loves writing, reading, sketching, and playing her violin. She’s also an accomplished figure skater! Janna says she very much enjoyed researching and composing her essay about German Russians, because she has German ancestors. Her grandmother’s maiden name was Burkhardt.

In addition to copping the 1st Place trophy, Janna will receive a $150 cash prize. She says she plans to travel to Germany this summer to visit her Burkhardt relatives.

Alexandra Bettcher of Maple Plain, Minnesota, receives the Middle School Runner-Up award, including a trophy and $100 for her essay, “Grandpa John, A Man Possessed With Wanderlust.” In addition to her interest in genealogy, Alexandra likes horses, rollerblading, and reading. She says her grandfather got her interested in her ancestors and also encouraged her to enter the contest. She is a 7th grader at Calvary Memorial Christian School near Minneapolis.

Winners in all categories of the GRHS Youth Essay Contest will receive their awards at a luncheon on Friday, August 1, at the International Convention of Germans from Russia in Casper, Wyoming (July 28-August 3).

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