Hadley Flynn, Moira Donahoe Win Historical Essay Contest

essay winners

Central Elementary School third grader Hadley Flynn is hugged by her mom, Annalisa Flynn, after receiving a $100 check for her first place award-winning essay in the annual contest held by the Emmet County Historical Commission. Also joining the Flynns were (back, l-r) Emmet County Administrator John Calabrese, Emmet County Commissioner Izzy Lyman, essay contest organizer Melinda Spencley and Emmet County Commissioner Toni Drier. Both Lyman and Drier serve on the historical commission.

Two Petoskey girls were recently announced as the winners of the Emmet County Historical Commission 2019 essay contest.

Central Elementary School third-grader Hadley Flynn earned first place with her unique essay “When the Pigeons Came to Petoskey” which told of the now-extinct passenger pigeon. In the 1800s, tens of thousands of passenger pigeons soared above Petoskey before they were hunted to extinction. Flynn was presented with a $100 check for her first place essay. Her teacher, Nikky Willison, received a $50 stipend to use for classroom supplies or projects.

essay winners

Ottawa Elementary School third grader Moira Donahoe poses with her writing teacher Kathy Slack (left) and her parents, Andrea and Ryan Donahoe, before being presented with a $50 check for her second place finish in the Emmet County Historical Commission essay contest.

Ottawa Elementary School third-grader Moira Donahoe was awarded $50 for second place finish on her essay “Chocolate Kingdom Kilwins!” describing what has made the local company a favorite of kids and adults alike for more than 70 years.

Flynn said her grandpa wanted her to write about logging for the historical essay contest. But, she was inspired to tell the story of the pigeons after seeing the stuffed bird in the Little Traverse Historical Society museum and recalling the memorial of the last living passenger pigeon she had seen at the Cincinnati Zoo during a visit there with her family. She is the daughter of Chris and Annalisa Flynn.

Donahoe wrote about Kilwins because “I love chocolate, ice cream and fudge! I love sweets,” she said enthusiastically. Her parents, Ryan and Andrea Donahoe were quick to confirm she was indeed a big fan of chocolate treats.

Emmet County commissioners Toni Drier and Izzy Lyman helped Emmet County Historical Commission essay contest organizer Melinda Spencely present the young girls with their awards. A small group of people not affiliated with the schools served as contest judges. They read more than two dozen contest entries before choosing the essays of Flynn and Donahoe as winners.

The funds for the essay contest are donated by the Bob Schulze Fund for Creative Writing held at the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation. Schulze’s widow, Suzanne, served for many years on the Emmet County Historical Commission. Bob Schulze was instrumental in establishing funds that help to encourage area youth to write essays and poetry.

The essay contest is held annually with information posted to the Emmet County website and Facebook page at the beginning of each year. All third and fourth grade students in Emmet County, including homeschooled children, are eligible to enter an essay in the contest.

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