AUGUSTA – The Maine Elks Association honored several youths from across the state as part of its 76th annual state convention. The youths were recognized as state winners of contests sponsored by the association. The awards were presented at a special banquet, attended by more than 300 members, guests and families of the recipients.

The first awards presented were for the Americanism Essay Contest, open to fifth-graders, who wrote a 200-word essay on “What Old Glory Means to Me.” Elks nationwide promote the contest to encourage youth to share in the love for the country. Presenting the awards was MEA Americanism Director Richie Philbrick.

More than 900 students participated in the state program. Winners were Nick Chase, sponsored by the Houlton Lodge, and Bradley Chelberg, sponsored by the Sebasticook Valley Elks Lodge.

Other district winners included Lynsie Dupuis, Rumford Lodge; Shane Starks, Skowhegan-Madison; Spencer Bourassa, Sanford; and Chris Weiss, Brunswick. The two top winners received a plaque with their essay engraved on it, along with a monetary award.

Next were the awards for the Elks Drug Awareness contests.

There were three contests, a coloring contest open to third-graders, a poster contest open to fourth-graders, and an essay contest open to fifth-graders. The overall theme was “Why Illegal Drugs Can Ruin Your Life.”

The contests are used to help educate parents and to encourage youth to take a stand against the dangers of drugs, alcohol and smoking. Presenting the awards was MEA Drug Awareness Director Frank Ricker.

The winners of the coloring contest were: Kevin Kingsbury, Augusta, and Liberty McKnight, Rockland. Poster contest winners were Tayla Martin, Millinocket, and Chris Frazier, Augusta, and the winners of the essay contest were Aren Lebrun, Skowhegan-Madison, and BJ A. Clark, also Skowhegan-Madison.

For more information on the Elks, visit, or visit an Elks Lodge.

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