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By: Dallas Wilson
The Atoka County Veterans Association is currently sponsoring a countywide competition in which students from the middle school age groups to the high school levels compete in presenting a written essay; this written essay will be for the middle school participants, with an oral speech/presentation to be made by the prospective high school participants.
This is an annual event, which is held every year by Veterans Associations throughout the state and nation. There are local, district, regional, state and national presentations with awards and monetary recognition given to the winners of these events.
This was brought to the attention of the out-going leadership in March of this year and passed on to the now seated leadership of the Atoka Association in June, 2020. After discussion within the council’s ranks, it was decided to sponsor this event and present the material to all schools in Atoka County. Members of the Atoka Association gathered all materials concerning the event and presented it to the Atoka County Schools during the month of August when school(s) started their fall sememster.
The material was distributed to the schools with the notation that members would contact the schools on Friday, October 30th, 2020 in order to review and judge the content entered by interested students. The Atoka Association will then take the submitted materials and review this on Wednesday, November 4th, 2020 and will make the announcement of the selected winners during the school’s Veterans Program. The winner(s) will be announced with a medal of achievement presented and a monetary endowment bestowed upon the winning participant.
The most exciting part of this is not just the local recognition the participant receives, he/she is then eligible to move on for competition in district, regional, state, and national recognition. Each competition in turn has that level of recognition and a monetary prize. As the level of competition increases, the monetary purse increases, as does the token of recognition. Last year, five  students from our district was recognized as winners of local competition and were actually involved in state level competition. This says much for the students of our area and we would like to see our local students be a part of this.
I do not know if this has been discussed around the dining table, in family conversation, via friends, co-workers, or in passing but now that you are aware of this, I hope that you will encourage your neighbor, child, friend, student, or acquaintance to participate in this event.
We hope that this will be successful and that we receive a good response from all the local schools. We would like to have Atoka County well represented and maybe have a state and national winner to present. Thank you for your time and assistance in this endeavor.