There is a saying, “Home is where your story begins…” For many years, the Waterloo Central School District and its teachers have encouraged students in each grade, kindergarten through grade 12, to participate in the Memorial Day Essay contest.

The essay contest focuses on Waterloo’s unique heritage as the Birthplace of Memorial Day and the influence that our founders have had on the rest of our country and all citizens. This contribution, originating from our “Home”, is something to honor and be proud of.
Each grade has a specific task that has been designed with grade levels and skills while addressing the historic importance of Memorial Day in Waterloo.  Tasks have been designed with input from teachers and reflect Common Core Learning Standards.
Student work will range from mini-posters to short and extended essays to letters to the editor depending on the grade level.

Essay winners

2015 winners (Front Row) Hudson Grillone, Alivia Mattoon, Nathaniel Butler, Leah Mahoney, Mia Arar, Robert Huber

Our youngest students will address the “what, when, why and how” of Memorial Day while Middle School students will demonstrate an understanding of the sacrifices of our nation’s service members, both past and present. High School students will write a “Letter to the Editor” providing a historical context for Memorial Day while encouraging civic participation to honor the service of others.
Deadline for entries is May 5. Contest materials and additional details are available from classroom teachers or by contacting Janelle Bradshaw ( or Lisa Sessler ( We welcome all students living in the Waterloo School District to participate.
Contest winners will be recognized at an assembly at the Waterloo Middle School on Thursday, May 26 at 1:15 pm.  There will be 2 winners per grade level.  All winning entries will be displayed in LaFayette Park.  Selected work from the elementary grades will be displayed throughout the town.
All winners of the contest will receive a Celebrate Commemorate T-shirt.  In addition, winners in grades 3-8 will receive $25 and will be featured in the annual parade. High school winners will receive $50 and have their work submitted to a local newspaper for publishing.
The contest is sponsored by the VFW, American Legion, and Waterloo Teachers, Retired Teachers and Staff.

Essay 1

L-R Celebrate Commemorate Co Chair Dave Duprey, 2015 VFW Commander Stan Grela, 2015 American Legion Commander Barb Ferraro,  Celebrate Commemorate Co Chair Jane Shaffer,  winner Leah Mahoney.