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National level in Legion contest achieved by Sturgis Youth

Sturgis School Grade 11 students exceeds all his wild dreams with winning poem that went national.
Jake Soltys, left, a Grade 11 Sturgis Composite School student, achieved the ultimate in dreams when he won first place at national competition for his Remembrance Day poem. Betty Lou Skogen of the Norquay Legion made the presentation.

STURGIS — Jake Soltys, a Grade 11 Sturgis Composite School student, was a little overwhelmed and excited when he found out he had won first place at the national level for his Remembrance Day poem that he had written for the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual National Youth Remembrance Contest.

“This is the first time in the history of the school and even the province that someone advanced through all the levels and was honoured with a first-place win,” stated Betty Lou Skogen, Legion representative. “It was astonishing and so exciting to have one of our local students to achieve that recognition. We the Legion are honoured and excited for Jake,” she said.

Soltys will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a trip to Ottawa in November for the National Remembrance Day Ceremony. His poem will be displayed at the National War Museum for one year and a plaque commemorating his achievement will be placed at the school.

“When I first started writing this poem we were given time in class but I felt after numerous scratches and re-starts that I needed more time so I worked on it on my own time,” said Soltys. “I found inspiration from the poem, In Flander’s Field and through the many stories told by both my great-grandmothers who served in war and passed down many stories. I feel very honoured, excited and a little overwhelmed with this great honour of having something I wrote from my heart to be felt as far as the national level. The possibilities are endless and I hope to inspire other students to reach out, put in the effort and don’t be afraid to put feeling to paper to tell your story. I am already thinking of what I want to compose for next year’s contest as it will be my last year as I will be graduating,” he concluded.

“Through the annual National Youth Remembrance Contests, the Legion National Foundation, with the assistance of The Royal Canadian Legion and schools across the country, invite Canadian youth and children to honour Canada’s Veterans and foster the tradition of Remembrance through visual art, writing, and video,” stated the National Youth Remembrance Contests, the Legion National Foundation.

The contests include multiple levels of competition. Poster and literary works compete first at the Legion Branch local level, with winning entries moving forward until they reach the provincial level. Video entries compete first at the Legion Command provincial level. Provincial finalists of all contests then move forward for final judging by the Legion National Foundation to determine the national winners.