Hermon student wins patriotic essay contest, headed to national competition

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HERMON, Maine (WABI) - A Hermon high school senior has been named as the state winner of the Voice of Democracy audio-essay contest.

The V-F-W selected Neily Raymond out of 11 finalists from around the state.

She received a check for $750 and an expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. in February.

There, she'll compete with other state winners for scholarship prizes up to $30,000.

Raymond says she thought of her grandfather and great uncle, both veterans, as she wrote.

The theme for this year's essay was "What makes America great?"

"It is the people who have built it. The moral backbone behind our nation. And especially the veterans who really epitomize that philosophy of what we fight for: freedom and the courage to stand up for it."

As part of the award, she will also attend the Spirit of America Youth Leadership Program in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania this summer.