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ASYMCA Names 20 Essay Contest Winners

Special to American Forces Press Service

SPRINGFIELD, Va., May 8, 2000 – Two brothers from Naples, Italy, are among the big winners in this year's Armed Services YMCA Young Readers Project Essay Contest.

Third-grader Chandler Steele won the $500 U.S. Savings Bond prize in the pre-kindergarten through third-grade category for his essay, "My Favorite Book." His younger brother, Christopher, a kindergartner, won an honorable mention and $100 bond. The boys' parents are Navy Lt. and Mrs. Chip Steele of Naples, Italy.

"Chandler sounds like a boy who truly loves to read," said Mary Pope Osborne, a contest judge and author of Scholastic Book's Magic Tree House series of books. "I wish him many great adventures in his imagination.

"I loved all the entries I read," she said. "My own childhood as an 'Army brat' contributed to my becoming a big reader. I loved the travel and adventure of military life. After my dad retired, reading allowed me to keep 'traveling' in my imagination. Every day I could have adventures just by picking up a book."

Other category winners were:

4th-6th grades: Michael A. Counihan Jr., 5th grade, son of Air Force Lt. Col. Michael and Jennifer Counihan, Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., $500 bond.

7th and 8th grades: Daniel Storm, 7th grade, son of DoD civilian Jill and Richard Storm, Naval Base Rota, Spain, $500 bond.

U.S.-based 9th-12th grades: Loni Capri Witscheber, 12th grade, daughter of Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul and Gail Witscheber, Fort McCoy, Wis., $1,000 bond.

Overseas 9th-12th grades: Rene Boone, 10th grade, daughter of Navy Chief Petty Officer Greg and Judith Boone, Santa Rita, Guam, $1,000 bond.

The other 14 honorable mentions receiving $100 U.S. Savings Bonds were:

o Jack Kuerbitz, pre-kindergarten, son of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian and Sarah Kuerbitz, Cheatham Annex, Va.

o Cody Whitaker, 1st grade, son of Army Staff Sgt. Michael and Joanna Steele, Fort Knox, Ky.

o Dwayne Tesheira, 2nd grade, son of Army Spc. Emil Tesheira at Fort Meade, Md., and Chevalyn Burke of New York City.

o Shanae LaNell Lewis, 4th grade, daughter of Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Steven and Shantell Lewis, Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C.

o Melissa Brooks, 4th grade, daughter of Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Robert and Kimberly Brooks, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.

o Michael B. Uhall, 6th grade, son of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael and Vicki Uhall, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

o Isaiah McPeak, 8th grade, son of Army Maj. John and Betsy McPeak, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

o Matthew Ignacio Wilson, overseas 9th grade, son of Navy Petty Officer 1st class Mark and Windelina Wilson, Naval Station Rota, Spain.

o Pecola Parnell, U.S. 9th grade, daughter of Marine Corps Sgt. Lorenzo and Migdalia Parnell, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

o Rob Silsbee, U.S. 10th grade, son of Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Jeff and Christine Silsbee, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

o Stephanie Toth, overseas 11th grade, daughter of DoD civilian Larissa and Charles Toth, Wuerzburg, Germany.

o Shelby Renoos, U.S. 11th grade, daughter of Army Guard Maj. John and Mary Renoos, Chippewa Falls, Wis.

o Nicole Bauer, overseas 12th grade, daughter of Coast Guard Lt. Eric and Nancy Bauer, Juneau, Alaska.

o Tiffany Rankin, overseas 12th grade, daughter of DoD civilian Wayne Rankin, Misawa Air Base, Japan.

All the winning essays will be available starting May 10 at the Armed Services YMCA Web site, www.asymca.org. More than 3,000 children of military and Defense Department families entered.

For the fourth year in a row, the U.S. Naval Institute sponsored the U.S. Savings Bond awards. Twenty volunteers aided in reading and judging the entries.

The Armed Services YMCA has 50 locations throughout the United States and supports all five military services.

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