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In 2013 as part of the dedication of the “Your American Heritage Monument” it was decided to sponsor a High School Patriotic Essay contest, on a trial basis at Atascadero High School. If successful, in 2014 the contest would be expanded to include each High School in the County. It was—and we are.



To foster an awareness and appreciation of our Nation’s Founding Fathers and their efforts to create the two most important documents that laid the foundation of our young Country; The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.



(a) Essay theme –What  the accomplishments of our Founding Fathers in creating The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution mean to you.

(b) Length-- 1,000 words (maximum)

(c) Prize money--1st Place $300--2nd Place $200--3rd Place $100


    For all monetary prizes to be awarded the groundrule was established that 10 or more total essays from any one school must be submitted.  Submitals less than 10 would still have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd determined but only 1st place would receive the monetary award (of $300).

(d) Contest Judging-suggested format : (4) judges total —(1-2) from High School , (2-3) from community 




All of the High Schools in San Luis Obispo County were contacted.  Our efforts started late in the school year and because of the busy end-of-school year activitity only Atascadero and Paso Robles High Schools were able to participate.


The objective for 2015 is to expand the essay program to all of the public and private high schools in SLO county (provided a corporate sponsor(s) can be brought on board).



Atascadero High School:


25 students submitted some very fine essays.  The three winners are:


                                                                                                                                      Links to their essay

1st Place

Olivia Andrade

Freedom Found in India

2nd Place

Nathan Nuttall

Patriotric Essay

3rd Place

Michael O'Hara

The Signature That Gave Hope to Freedom


The Atascadero essay winners were recognized at the Atascadero City Counil Meeting held July 8, 2014.  Olivia Andrade was unable to attend as she was on a church mission trip to Costa Rica.  Her sister Hannah was present to accept Olivia's awards.


The awards included recognition from MOWW, the City Council, and a Congregational Certificate from the office of Representative Lois Capps.


Past Commander Dick Hathcock addressing the city council with Chuck Ward looking on.  Dick read some of the content of the MOWW Resolution prepared for the High School and highlighted the mission of the MOWW to promote/instill patriotism in our youth.  The annual essay contest fits this mission very well.
E.J. Rossi, principal of the Atascadero High School addressing the council after receiving the MOWW Resolution from Commander Dick.  Chuck and Dick are looking on as well the winners from Atascadero High School.

A group photo with the City Council. 


From left to right: Councilman Bob Kelly, Principal E.J. Rossi, Mayor Pro Tem Brian Sturtevant, Hannah Andrade in for Olivia, Mayor Tom O'Malley, Nathan Nuttall, Councilwoman Roberta Fonzi, Michael O'Hara, Councilwoman Heather Moreno, Chuck Ward, and Dick Hathcock.

On the steps of the Historic Rotunda City Hall after the ceremony.  Michael O'Hara, Hannah Andrade, and Nathan Nuttall in the front with Dick Hathcock, Chuck Ward, and Principal E.J.Rossi in the back.






Paso Robles High School:


7 students submitted their essays and the three winners are:


                                                                                                                                  Links to their essay

1st Place

Michael Horne

Patriotic Essay

2nd Place

Milan Bass

Patriotic Essay

3rd Place

Eli Johnson

The Gift of Progression



Presentations at the Paso Robles City Council meeting July 1, 2014


Left to right: Greg Haas, Chuck Ward, Randy Nelson, Milan Bass, Michael Horne, and Mayor Duane Picanco


Mayor Picanco recognizing Michael and Milan as the 1st and 2nd place winners of the Paso High essay contest. 

Eli Johnson, 3rd place winner, was unable to attend, Principal Randy Nelson accepted Eli's awards.

Greg Hass representing Congresswoman Lois Capps presenting a Congregational Certificate to Milan and Michael.

Chuck Ward, Chairman of the American Heritage Monument Committee, presenting a MOWW Resolution Plaque to

Randy Nelson, principal of Paso Robles High School.

Michael, Milan, and Chuck after the ceremonies



The MOWW Vandenberg Chapter acknowledges each of the High Schools and all of the essay participants for their fine efforts.