All three of St. Helens' first-place winners made the podium at the state level for the Oregon Mayors Association.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF ST. HELENS  - Taylor 'Rosie' Parsons receives congratulations from Mayor Rick Scholl. Three Columbia County students have been honored at the state level for their essay, poster and digital media skills.

All three first-place winners from the local "If I Were Mayor, I Would…" student contest held recently in St. Helens placed first and second at the state-level contest last week.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF ST. HELENS - Student Hayden Stram along with Mayor Rick Scholl.The statewide contest saw 27 cities participate. The Oregon Mayors Association received 45 entries overall, from young people explaining what they would do to improve their community if they were mayor.

The winning local students are:

• Ellie Luke, a fourth-grader at Yankton Arthur Academy, who took first place in the poster category at the state competition.

• Taylor "Rosie" Parsons, a sixth-grader at Columbia County Christian School, who placed first in the essay category.

• Hayden Stram, a homeschooled 10th-grader, who placed second in the digital media presentation category.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF ST. HELENS  - Ellie Luke, along with Mayor Rick Scholl. First-place winners at the state level receive $500 and are invited to an awards luncheon presentation at the Oregon Mayors Association's summer conference at the Best Western Agate Beach Hotel in Newport.

Second-place winners receive $300.

The "If I Were Mayor" student contest is an annual contest put on by the Oregon Mayors Association, in partnership with city governments across Oregon at the local level. Students are asked to share their ideas about what they would do if they were mayor of their city.

Three categories make up the contest. Grades 4-5 produce posters. Grades 6-8 write essays. High school students produce digital media presentations.

In cities such as St. Helens, the city council reviews the entries, looking for creativity, clarity, sincerity of thought, proper use of grammar and subject relevancy.

First-place winners at the local contest have their submissions forwarded to the Oregon Mayors Association for a chance to win at the state level.

St. Helens Mayor Rick Scholl was quoted in a city news release as saying, "I am very proud of all three of our local students. They had excellent presentations and that shows in how well they did against other students around the state."

In the St. Helens contest, first-place winners in each category received $150 cash, and second-place winners received a cash prize of $50.

When the contest is completed, all participants are invited to have lunch with Scholl.

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