The "God, Flag and Country" Program, sponsored by the Brunswick Eagles #3505 Aerie and Auxiliary, was held March 7, in the Concord Little Theatre at Brunswick High School.
Thirty 10-to-15-year-old students from Brunswick City Schools were selected as finalists from a field of 600 who entered their God, flag, and country themed essays for consideration; they competed by age, 10 in each group: 10-11, 12-13, and 14-15.
Eagle Rich Nowak, retired Brunswick teacher, football coach, and now school board member, served as Master of Ceremonies for the event. After an invocation delivered by Chaplain Mark Wingenfeld, the audience recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Nowak then introduced the Brunswick High School A Cappella Choir, who sang "America" and "The Star Spangled Banner" under the direction of Stephanie Higgins.
The competition began with the 10 students in the 10-11 age group: Carter Adriance/Kidder; Ella Borrasso/Willetts; Winifred Brusco/Kidder; Alexandra Burns/Willetts; Nathaniel Friedl/Crestview; Marley Glover/Kidder; Nevaeh Lugo/Kidder; Aubriana Paroda/Willetts; Logan Reichenbach/Towslee; and Olivia Tyko-Fox/Applewood. Reichenbach took first place, Tyko-Fox was second, and Glover came in third.
All the students competing in the 12-13 age group were from Willetts: Noah Bender, Savannah Daveduk, Noah Hilt, Abigail Karim, Addison Koessel, Aidan Mante, Jackson Page, Camryn Petty, Maggie Romano, and Aiden Sroka. First place went to Romano, second to Karim, and third to Hilt.
One student in the 14-15 age group, Theerthaa Krishnan, was from Visintainer, all the others were from Willetts: William Bradbury, Isabella DiNunzio, Mia Dolan, Journey Hildebrand, Jordan Malcom, Alexis Martz, Donovan Perkins, and Justin Pogorelec (finalist Hannah George was ill and unable to attend). Krishnan was the first place winner in this age group, Perkins the second place winner, and Pogorelec the third place winner.
The first place winners in each group received $100, second place winners $75, and third place winners $50. First place winners now move on to the zone finals. Awards presenter Carol Fritz, acting on behalf of the Women's Auxiliary, commended every student who participated, calling them all winners.
Judges were Sam Boyer, freelance columnist, Sun Newspapers and Cleveland.com; Carl DeForest, Brunswick City Manager; Angela Huston, journalist and author, medinacountylife.com; Jason Niedermeyer, Assistant Superintendent, Brunswick City Schools; and Nancy Zelei, Brunswick Board of Education.
The committee that planned the event included Carol Fritz, Ron Fritz, Kris Hengenius, Jennifer Kerr, Mike Kerr, Rich Nowak, Del Ruiz, Julie Zevchek, and Len Zevchek.
Other acknowledgements for their assistance went to Michael Mayell, Superintendent, Brunswick City Schools; Jason Niedermeyer, Assistant Superintendent, Brunswick City Schools, Ray Luttner, Teacher, Language Arts/Theater, Brunswick High School; and John Wasylko, BEAT Video Program Advison.
The students, their parents, and guests attending the competition were invited to a luncheon in the cafeteria following the presentations.
The Brunswick Eagles are extremely active, constantly serving the needs of local residents in many ways, and supporting community organizations such as the HANDS Foundation and others.