Young Hype: Youth achieving success and blazing trails

Anessa DeMers has won the annual Chase Korte Peace Essay contest.

This year’s awards were held Wednesday, March 21 in the Zabee Theater.

The guest speaker was Joel Korte, ERHS class of 2002 and the brother of Chase. He also sang and performed two songs: “Brother” and “The Field.”

“This may have been the most poignant, emotional and entertaining event in the 18

Wil Strei, Pat Korte, Denise Eidem, Linda Korte, Stewart Wilson and Aaron Schwab. Sitting: Emma Hohlen, Renee Holzknecht, Anessa DeMers and Cayla Weatherly

years we have sponsored it,” said Stewart Wilson, of The Bank of Elk River. “Joel Korte was inspiring with his remarks about himself and the impact his brother, Chase, had and has on him.  His music was heartfelt and beautiful as well.”

Other student performers were Grace Heyne, who played “The Chain” on piano, and the White Elk Jazz Combo composed of Eric Riesberg, Michael Tormoen, Dan Alfveby, Megan Perry, Amanda Hookom, Adam Habarneh, Jake Esterberg, Melia Willoughby and Anessa DeMers, who played “Pretty Eyes” and “Littlest One.”

Other speakers at the awards were Pat Korte, Wilson and Denise Eidem.

DeMers won a $500 scholarship from The Bank of Elk River for having the winning essay.

Renee Holzknecht is the second-place winner of a $300 scholarship; and Cayla Weatherly is the third-place winner of a $200 scholarship. The scholarships for second and third place were given by Pat and Linda Korte, parents of Chase. The Korte’s shared some video highlights of Chase’s acting.

Honorable mention went to Emma Hohlen, Aaron Schwab and Will Strei.

This year’s winners (all juniors) entered the Peace Essay contest sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace and answered the question: “How can new media best be leveraged to help build peace and prevent conflict?”

Click here to read the winning entry.

Joel Korte, the brother of Chase Korte, whom the local Peace Essay contest is named after, spoke and performed at the recent awards ceremony at Zabee Theater at Elk River High School.

The annual Peace Essay awards ceremony was renamed the Chase Korte Peace Essay Awards in 2007 to honor the memory of Chase Korte, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2007. He was a talented graduate of ERHS in 2001 and was the local first-place winner of the Peace Essay contest in 2000.

At the time of his death, Chase was working on the conclusion of a film project called “The Peace Walker,” and he was also a passionate supporter of the humanitarian organization World Vision. He lived a life that organizers of the essay contest believes embodies the spirit of altruism that characterizes the purpose of the peace essay contest.

Chase’s brother Joel  graduated from ERHS in 2002 and from the University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 2007. He was an Academic All-State running back/defensive back in high school, and he also played football for the Tommies and was their captain in his senior year. He currently works for ZVEX Effects as a design engineer and is in a master’s program in speech-language pathology at St. Thomas.

Joel is a member of the band Ghost Towns of the West. At the awards ceremony he sang “Brother” written a few days after Chase died, and “The Field” written by Mason Jennings.

In addition to community participation, the essay contest and awards ceremony involves members of ERHS faculty.

•Eidem, the AP English language and composition teacher who assigns the Peace Essay for a contest sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace.

•Tom Fuller and Mabel Schultz who instigated ERHS student participation in the contest in 1995.

•John Olson and Louise Kuester who, along with Fuller, serve as the local essay judges.

ERHS has done well at the state level as well, producing eight state winners since the program began in 1995.