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Leonard student places first in essay contest

Eagle Creek Academy eighth-grader Samantha Rondeau won first place in her school in the 43rd annual America and Me Essay Contest, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance. (click for larger version)
February 29, 2012 - There's only one thing better than winning an essay contest and that's winning for something you wrote about a person you love, admire and respect.

Just ask 12-year-old Leonard resident Samantha Rondeau.

The eighth-grader at Eagle Creek Academy (3739 Kern Rd.) in Oakland Township took first place in her school as part of the 43rd annual America and Me Essay Contest, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.

"It means a lot to me because I worked really hard on it and I'm glad that I was chosen as the winner," Rondeau said.

Several thousand eighth-grade students from more than 400 Michigan schools participated in this year's contest, which encourages youngsters to explore the greatness of America and its people.

The topic of this year's essay contest was "My Personal Michigan Hero."

Rondeau chose to write about her older brother, Jim, 14, who also attends Eagle Creek Academy. "I look up to him because he's really respectful of others and he takes his time to do things," she explained. "I just really admire him for that."

She also respects his "courage" and "how hard he tries in school."

Rondeau said her brother felt "really special" that she selected him to write about.

"When I first told him, he didn't believe me," she said.

Rondeau's essay now advances to the state-level competition, from which the top 10 essays will be selected. Winners will be announced in April. The authors of the top 10 essays will each receive a plaque, a medallion and $1,000. They will also be honored at a banquet in Lansing later this year.

Winning this contest at her school could be the start of a successful career for Rondeau, who indicated she wants to write for a living and "travel around the world."

"I want to write about the different places I see and the different people I meet," she said.

Good luck, Samantha.

Eagle Creek Academy is a private school for students in preschool through eighth grade. It offers small class sizes and a diverse curriculum that includes Spanish, art, music, physical education and technology.

For more information call (248) 475-9999 or visit www.eaglecreekacademy.com.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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