Bell Oaks students recognized for their ‘How to be a good American’ essays

From front left: Bell Oaks students Ethan Shelling, Hayden, Straub and Gianna Loftis are pictured with counselor Ray Bider, Bell Oaks principal Anthony Farinelli, school superintendent Danielle Sochor, teacher Ed Beail, Mike Hackett of Bellmawr VFW #7410, and Mayor Chuck Sauter.

At the Bellmawr School Board meeting on March 22, 2022, three Bell Oaks eighth graders: Hayden Straub, Ethan Shelling, and Gianna Loftis were recognized for their winning essays in the Patriot’s Essay Writing Contest. Year 2021-2022.

The competition is a youth essay contest sponsored by VFW that gives students the opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme.

The theme for 2021-2022 was “How to be a good American”.

Eighth grade social studies and language arts teacher Ed Beail has hosted this essay contest for many years with Mike Hackett of Bellmawr VFW #7410.

Hayden Straub, Ethan Shelling and Gianna Loftis are pictured with their families and Councilor Ray Bider, Principal Anthony Farinelli, Councilor Ray Bider, Bell Oaks Principal Anthony Farinelli, School Superintendent Danielle Sochor, The teacher Ed Beail, Mike Hackett of Bellmawr VFW #7410, and Mayor Chuck Sauter. (Photo SJO)

Mr. Beail said: “I can’t take credit for it. I have no right to help them at all. I give credit to the old teachers they had in the system who taught them how to write. [In] October we talked about how to be a good American, but all the words are theirs. I believe this is the first time we have had first, second and third place in a school county.


Hayden Straub came second in the state with her tryout.

Congratulations Hayden, Ethan and Gianna!

You can read the winning student essays here:

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