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Roxbury Board of Ed Celebrates VFW Essay Winners


Roxbury Board of Ed Celebrates VFW Essay Winners

John Lehnert and Don Banta from Kenvil VFW  

ROXBURY, NJ (February 21, 2020) – The Roxbury Board of Education recognized eight students from Lincoln/Roosevelt School, Eisenhower Middle School, and Roxbury High School at its regular Board of Education meeting on Monday, February 10th in the Lincoln/Roosevelt School Auditorium. These students were recognized as winners of this year’s VFW Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy Essay Winners. 

John Lehnert, the Post Commander of VFW Post 2833 in Kenvil, Nancy Bottona, and Don Banta were there to congratulate the students and present them with certificates. This year’s topic for the VFW Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest and the Voice of Democracy Contest was “What Makes America Great”. 

Annika Szardenings reads part of her essay This nation-wide VFW youth essay-writing contest gives students in sixth through eighth grade the opportunity to express their views on democracy. Contestants write 300-400 word essays based on the annual patriotic theme. 

This year’s winners from Eisenhower Middle School were eighth-graders Annika Szardenings (1st Place), Jared Weiss (2nd Place), and Aditya Mahalingam (3rd Place). 

The first, second, and third place winners from Lincoln/Roosevelt School were sixth-graders Virginia Leal, Katrinka Sullivan, and Christos Paxos. 

Lehnert thanked the students for their inspiring messages and thanked EMS and Lincoln/Roosevelt teachers, Margery Richman, Shannon Rodas, Stacy Buchanan, Amy Muller, Jamie Osbun for promoting these contests and for Roxbury Schools for participating in the VFW Voice for Democracies program. 

He then went on to present this year’s Voice of Democracy winners. Participants in this contest must be in grades 9-12 and need to write and record an essay on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s winners were Sophomores Sarah Rice (1st Place) and Kate Rice (2nd Place). 

Lehnert ended saying, “We would like to thank Maria Rispoli for promoting this to her students and we would also like to thank the principals, Mr. Miller, Mr. Gallagher, and Mr. Argenziano for coming out to support their students.” 

PHOTO ATTACHED (courtesy of Roxbury Schools)



For more information, contact: Roxbury Community School/Community Relations Coordinator Ann Rhodes at or 973-584-7699.



Roxbury Public Schools is a K-12 school district preparing the children of today for tomorrow. As a dynamic and thriving district, in partnership with a supportive and collaborative community, Roxbury Public Schools inspires and empowers all learners to flourish as ethical and global citizens in the 21st century. The district serves students throughout Roxbury Township, New Jersey, including the areas of Landing, Kenvil, Succasunna, Ledgewood, Mount Arlington, Port Morris, Flanders, and Wharton. Connect with us online at or on Facebook at