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Young Readers Win Armed Services YMCA Essay Contest

By Andree Swanson
Special to American Forces Press Service

SPRINGFIELD, Va., June 12, 2001 – Third-grader Genevieve Kobus told a story of a superhero who destroys a villain who tries to prevent children from reading.

Eighth-grader Patty Erickson titled her entry "Reading to Nancy," her little sister.

Anthony Johnson, 10, wrote about how his African-American heritage drives his need to read.

All three were winners in the sixth annual young readers' essay contest co-sponsored by the Armed Services YMCA and U.S. Naval Institute. More than 2,500 children whose parents serve the military entered this year's contest and told the volunteer judges why they like to read.

Top high school honors and a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond went to Faith Wagner, 14, ninth-grade daughter of Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Michael and JoAnn Wagner, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y. Her entry, a diary as kept by a book, told its tale from new library to cherished antique.

Kobus, 9, is the daughter of Coast Guard Reserve Petty Officer 2nd class Robert and Tina Kobus, Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team, Fort Dix, N.J. Erickson, 13, is the daughter of Army Lt. Col. Ralph and Mary Erickson, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Johnson is the fifth-grade son of Army Staff Sgt. Anthony and Pamela Johnson, Fort Campbell, Ky. All received $500 Savings Bonds.

Other $500 bond winners were: Addy Hawkins, 5, daughter of Navy Lt. Robert and Janice Hawkins, Portsmouth, Va.; Candice Scott, 6, first-grade daughter of Army Sgt. Arnold and Cynthia Scott, Fort Riley, Kan.; and Erin Walden, 15, 12th-grade daughter of Defense Department civilian Geoffrey and Deborah Walden, Schweinfurt, Germany.

Winners of $100 bonds were:

  • Kristi DeYoung, 6, first-grade daughter of Petty Officers 1st class George DeYoung and Anne Priestman, Coast Guard Cutter Eagle and Coast Guard 1st District, respectively, Boston.
  • Candace Dowell, 11, sixth-grade daughter of Navy Chief Petty Officer Brian and Pamela Brecht, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
  • Megan Ferry, 13, eighth-grade daughter of Army Maj. Charles and Angela Ferry, Fort Benning, Ga.
  • Jamonti Little, 9, fourth-grade son of Marine Corps Master Sgt. James and Batania Little, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.
  • Amanda Maglothin, 8, third-grade daughter of Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Richard and Cindi Maglothin, Tenn.
  • Shannequa Pollard, 8, second-grade daughter of Army Pvt. James and Lavenia Nicholes, Vicenza, Italy.
  • Louisa Pratt, 12, sixth-grade daughter of Defense Department civilian Nick and Marianna Pratt, Garmisch, Germany.
  • Ga-Bo Steele, 4, preschool daughter of Navy Lt. Richard and Mei Yee Steele, Twentynine Palms, Calif.
  • Joshua Treloar, 9, third-grade son of Air Force Senior Master Sgt. George and Angelique Treloar, Yokota Air Base, Japan.

(Andree Swanson works for the Armed Services YMCA in Springfield, Va.)

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