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Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Winners of 54th Annual America & Me Essay Contest Announced

Date Posted: April 11, 2023

Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan has announced the top ten statewide winners of the 2022-’23 America & Me Essay Contest. The contest winners will each receive a plaque, medallion, and a cash award of $1,000, another $1,000 for the school they attend (an additional $500 is awarded to the school if their contest has been sponsored by a Farm Bureau Insurance agent). In addition to these prizes, the top ten students and their teachers will be invited to participate in a day-long celebration in Lansing featuring a visit to the Michigan State Capitol building, meet-and-greets with state leaders, an awards luncheon, and additional fun events to be outlined prior to the award’s day, May 17th.

This annual tradition was founded by Farm Bureau Insurance in 1968 and encourages students to write about their personal Michigan heroes —someone they know personally who encouraged and inspired them to live better and achieve more. Since its inception, over 500,000 Michigan 8th graders have participated in the contest.

The final ranking of this year’s 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 2021-‘22 contest year. This year’s winners competed against more than over 3,000 students from nearly 200 Michigan junior high and middle schools.

The top ten statewide winners included (in order of finish, from 10th to 1st place) Simon Kelly of Holy Trinity Catholic School in Comstock ParkRyker Gill of West Iron County Middle School in Iron River, Hallie Van Tuyl of Nellie B. Chisholm Middle School in Montague (sponsored by agent, Rachel Levine), Katie Allen of Oxford Middle School in Oxford (sponsored by agent, Melisa Counelis), Harrison Sargent of Auburn Hills Christian School in Auburn Hills, Memphis Rickard of Hartland Middle School at Ore Creek in Hartland, Klara McArthur of Lakewood Middle School in Woodland, Christina Starr of St. Gerard School in Lansing (sponsored by agent, Tim Barry), Elisa Lopez of North Huron Schools in Kinde, and Taryn Bosman of Gaylord Middle School in Gaylord. 

You can read these students’ winning submissions at:

As sponsor of the contest, Farm Bureau Insurance has earned 11 national awards from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

Farm Bureau Insurance encourages interested 8th Grade Teachers to be on the lookout for materials to register when the 55th annual contest kicks off in Fall of 2023. Visit the America & Me Essay Contest homepage or contact Lisa Fedewa at 517-679-5411 or at [email protected] for more information.

Cale Sauter headshot

Cale Sauter

Public Relations & Social Media Strategist
517-391-5001 [email protected]

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