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Faith student, Marble Falls teacher advance to state VFW contests

VFW contest winners from Marble Falls

LEFT: Faith Academy of Marble Falls eighth-grader Jaden Turrentine’s essay is advancing to the Veterans of Foreign Wars state essay competition. RIGHT: Marble Falls High School teacher Jacob Smith advanced to the VFW's state competition for Teacher of the Year. Courtesy photos

With first-place finishes at the local and district levels, a Faith Academy of Marble Falls eighth-grader and a Marble Falls High School teacher are on their way to the Veterans of Foreign Wars state competition. 

Student Jaden Turrentine is advancing in the Patriot’s Pen essay contest on the topic of “What Is Patriotism to Me,” while teacher Jacob Smith is up for the Teacher of the Year award.

The road to the state contests started at VFW Post 10376 of Marble Falls. 

Jaden’s 400-word essay won first places in the middle school competition at the local level and then the District 14 contest.

Smith is advancing to the state contest thanks to a 300-word essay by Marble Falls High School Principal Damon Adams and two student-written pieces on what he means to them. 

They noted his patience, teaching style, and the way he motivates for why he should be the Teacher of the Year, said Dan Cone, the Marble Falls post’s public relations representative.

Smith’s nomination then picked up the District 14 nod.

Several Faith Academy students also received honors in both the local Patriot’s Pen essay contest and the five-minute Voice of Democracy recorded speech contest on the topic of “Is This the Country the Founding Fathers Envisioned.”

Eighth-grader Hadley Shipley was second in the Patriot’s Pen essay, and classmate Avery Floyd was third. 

In the Voice of Democracy recorded speech, freshmen Audrianna Poage was first followed by twin sister Clair Poage, who was second, and Seth Jones in third.

VFW judges praised the submissions.

“Given the disrupted school year by COVID-19, it is noteworthy that Marble Falls Independent School District and Faith Academy were able to submit such high-quality representatives,” according to a media release. “Our hats are off to these outstanding academians.”

The state winners will be announced in early 2021 with those advancing to the national level competition. 

jfierro@thepicayune.com