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Reading Essay Winners Selected

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 20, 1997 – Fifteen children, all family members of military or DoD civilian personnel, won the 1997 Armed Services YMCA Young Readers Project.

Linda Laverty, 17, a member of a Navy family stationed at Atsugi, Japan, won the high school award, which comes with a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond.

Joy Stripling, 14, daughter of an Army civilian employee at Fort Stewart, Ga., and Laura Marusich, 12, a member of a Coast Guard family in Puerto Rico, tied as winners in the middle school category. Each received a $500 bond.

Ernie Belcarris, the 12-year-old son of a Marine Corps staff sergeant at Twentynine Palms, Calif., was winner in the fourth- to sixth-grade category; and Alexandra Pattenn, 8, was named winner of the preschool through third-grade category. She is the daughter of an Air Force master sergeant in Spangdahlem, Germany.

Ten other students were named runner ups in the contest. Each will receive a $100 bond.

The Armed Services YMCA's Young Readers Project encourages reading and learning. The Naval Institute sponsored the project. Thirty volunteer judges from DoD, the Armed Services YMCA and the Naval Institute read and rated more than 4,200 contest essays. The essays came from DoD Education Activity schools, installation libraries, family centers and individual families living far from military installations in many corners of the world, such as embassies and recruiting offices.

Young Readers Project contest runner-ups:

 Amy Shank, 17, daughter of Army 1st Lt. and Mrs. Ronald

Shank, Fort Belvoir, Va.

 Anne Branch, 13, daughter of a Coast Guard family in

Paducah, Ky.

 Angel Guillory, 13, daughter of Air Force Staff Sgt. and

Mrs. Charles Guillory, Sembach, Germany

 Nate Stults, 7, son of Air Force Staff Sgt. and Mrs. Shane

Stults, Ramstein, Germany

 Lisa Gotkiewicz, 17, daughter of Navy family Tim and Sally

Gotkiewicz, Dededo, Guam

 Nataylia Jo Montgomery, 10, daughter of Air Force family

David and Josi Montgomery, Cabot, Ark.

 Richard Glenn, 17, son of a Navy family, Virginia Beach, Va.

 Michelle Ness, 11, daughter of Army family Harold and Linda

Ness, Fort Jackson, S.C.

 Chad Taylor, 10, son of Army family John and Brenda Taylor,

Fort Campbell, Ky.

 Brittany Lynn Trenker, 8, daughter of Marine Corps Capt. and Mrs. Debbie Trenker, Marine Corps Detachment, Fort Sill, Okla. (Armed Forces YMCA release)

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