Siblings Reilly and Logan Blakeslee each recently took first place in the Elbert County Republican Women’s annual Patriotic Essay contests.
On April 10, Reilly, a Legacy Academy student, was awarded first place in the middle school contest for her essay titled “The Freedom to Succeed.” Her brother Logan, an Elizabeth High School student, won the high school contest for his essay titled “The American Dream: Opportunity, Freedom, Optimism.”
Both received a U.S. flag from the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office and a Colorado state flag from state Rep. Tim Dore. Dore also presented certificates from the Capitol to the first-, second- and third-place winners of both contests and letters of commendation to the remaining top 10 essayists in both contests. 
The high school first-place essayist also received the $1,000 Mary Rathbun Memorial Scholarship, donated in Mary’s memory by her husband Larry Durner and her sister Karen Marant. 
Other winners of the middle school contest were as follows: second place, McKenzie Smith (Big Sandy Middle School, Simla); and third place Peyton Baldwin (Legacy Academy). In the high school contest, second place went to Ashley Baller (Ponderosa High School, Parker) and third place to Caleb Dotten (home school, Elizabeth).   
For both middle and high school contests, the Elbert County Republican Women awarded $100 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place.
The remaining top 10 high school essayists were Kimberly Peterson (Elizabeth High School), Connor Wills and Ryan Wills (Kiowa High School), Colten Trent and Menzi Spiller (Elbert High School), Hailey Edwards (Simla High School) and Julianna Dotten (home school).
The remaining top 10 middle school essayists were Delaney Kretsinger, Megan Frahm and Erin Shiely (Legacy), Sedona Levy, Allison Schieffer  and Juan Gomez (Elbert Middle School), and Morris Richardson (Big Sandy Middle School).
The nonpartisan essay contest is designed to encourage students to think and write about the privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. The 2014 essay contest’s topic was “The American Dream and How It Relates to You.”
The Republican Women will announce the topic for their 2015 Patriotic Essay contest in the fall of 2014.