Virginia War Memorial announces winner of Veterans Day Student Essay Contest

Virginia War MemorialA middle schooler from Hanover County and a high school junior from Patrick County were the first place winners in the Virginia War Memorial’s 2019 Veterans Day Student Essay Contest.

The winners were announced at the Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony held Nov. 11 at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.

The annual contest was open to middle and high school age students throughout Virginia in public or private schools or homeschooled. The essay topic was “A Virginian Who Served in The Military in The 20th or 21st Century Who Inspired Me.”

The student writers of the winning essay in each category won a cash prize of $250 and were invited to read aloud their essay during the 2019 Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony. Their teachers were also invited to Richmond and each received a $100 prize to be used for classroom supplies.

The winner in the middle school category was Brooke Eubanks, a sixth-grader at Chickahominy Middle School in Hanover County. Her essay was about her uncle, Army Sergeant First Class Eddie O. Johnson.  Her teacher is Cheryl Clarke.

The winner in the high school category was Caroline Vernon, an 11th-grader at Patrick County High School in Stuart.  Her essay profiled her brother, Justin Vernon. Lisa Belcher is her teacher.

Brooke and Caroline read aloud their winning essays as part of the Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony. They were congratulated by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who was the keynote speaker for the annual program.

Runners-up in the Veterans Day Student Essay Contest were also announced. These were:

Middle School

  • Clarke Canova, Homeschooled, 8th grade, James City County
  • Jaqulynne Stewart, Edward Drew Middle School, 6th grade, Falmouth (Stafford County)

High School

  • Rashad Seaborne, Maggie Walker Governors School, 11th grade, Richmond
  • You Jin Lee, Douglas Freeman High School, 12th grade, Henrico County

All of the first place and runner-up essays are posted online on the Virginia War Memorial Foundation website at


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