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Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Winners of 53rd Annual America & Me Essay Contest Honored in Lansing

Date Posted: June 21, 2022

Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan joined with the Secretary of State’s office, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, and the Lansing Lugnuts in honoring students among the top ten statewide winners of the company’s 53rd annual America & Me Essay Contest. In addition to a cash award of $1,000, and an additional $1,000 for the student’s school, top ten winners in attendance received recognition at the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, in a meet & greet with Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist, as VIP guests at a Lansing Lugnuts baseball game, and at luncheon ceremony while cruising the Grand River aboard the Michigan Princess Riverboat where they received plaques and medallions as their winning essays were highlighted.

The student essays for this, the 53rd  annual contest, were based on the topic, "My Personal Michigan Hero."  The final ranking of the winners was determined by a panel of judges comprised of Farm Bureau Insurance’s CEO Don Simon; contest founder Jack Stucko; and one teacher from a top 10 statewide school winner from the 2020-‘21 contest year. “I couldn’t be more proud of this year’s winners,” said Simon. “It was inspiring reading these accounts of personal heroes ranging from friends, to teachers, to family members, to people dedicating themselves to communities and those in need.”

The top ten statewide winners included (in order of finish, from 10th to 1st place) Gabriela Diaz of St. Stephen School in New Boston, Elizabeth Gursky of West Iron County Middle School in Iron River, William Duzan of University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy in Detroit, Nicholas Gorday of St. Mary School in Mt. Clemens, Sydney DeKuiper of East Rockford Middle School in Rockford, Victoria Mudra of Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic School in Warren, Trey LaValley of Romeo Middle School in Romeo, Luke Wuotinen of St. Regis Catholic School in Bloomfield Hills, Ian Sampson of Whitehall Middle School in Whitehall, and Michaela Spitzley of Most Holy Trinity School in Fowler. You can read these students’ winning submissions at:

The America & Me Essay Contest was founded by Farm Bureau Insurance in 1968 to embolden Michigan youth and will return for its 54th year this upcoming school year. All middle schools and junior highs, statewide, are eligible and encouraged to participate. Information and registration for participation will be sent to schools and updated on the Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan website as the next contest kicks off in Fall. For more details, contact Lisa Fedewa at [email protected]

Farm Bureau Insurance Invites Michigan 8th Graders to Participate in 52nd Annual America & Me Essay Contest

Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan is once again sponsoring its annual America & Me Essay Contest—celebrating its 52nd year.