Hennessy named Peace Essay winner

Katelyn Hennessey has won the Chase Korte Peace Essay Awards Ceremony.

Kelsey Rausch was second, and Tori Herrmann was third.

Katelyn Hennessey (center) was named the winner of the Chase Korte Peace Essay Awards Contest at the Zabee Theater Friday at Elk River High School. Kelsey Rausch was second, and Tori Herrmann was third.

Receiving Honorable Mention were Kristin Rokke, Sunshine Thao, Dylan Berger, Amy Honek and Gretchen Brown.

These essayists and other students of Denise Eidem’s 11th grade AP Language and Composition have now had their work entered into the national essay contest sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

They answered the question, “For those who hope to prevent violent conflict, how can their efforts to reduce, if not eliminate, corruption best contribute to building sustainable peace?”

Awards for the local contest were handed out at a program Friday in the Zabee Theater at Elk River High School.

Katie Becklin-Atkinson, Phd., who was an Elk River class of 2000 graduate and a local winner of the Peace Essay Contest in 1999 as well as receiving State Honorable Mention for her essay, was the guest speaker.  Becklin-Atkinson is currently doing post-doctoral work at the University of Kansas at Lawrence.

Her message to students was to “…be present in the moment.”  They should not worry that they must decide today what they want to do with their lives, but should stay open to change directions when they truly discover their passion, she explained.

Also speaking at the event were Eidem; Stewart Wilson, the executive vice-president of the Bank of Elk River; and Tom Fuller, the Coordinator of the Gifted and Talented program at ERHS.

The Bank of Elk River sponsors the local level of the USIP contest, and the ceremony was held to award Savings Bonds to the local winners. The first place winner took home the top prize — a $500 savings bond.

Pat and Linda Korte, the parents of Chase Korte, were also present. The local first place award was named in honor of Chase in 2007.  Chase was the local winner of the contest in 2000 and was completing a film project entitled The Peace Walker when his life was cut short.

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