Mary Jane Guest, left, contest chairwoman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1002 in Fallon, and Mike Terry, right, previous contest chair, honor Voice of Democracy District 4 winner Christine Robinson from Oasis Academy.
Photo by Steve Ranson.
A Churchill County High School English teacher and an Oasis Academy student have advanced to the state level for their respective contest submissions to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Christina Robinson, a sophomore at Oasis, placed first at the Oasis and the District 4 Voice of Democracy contests and will compete at the state competition. The annual Department of Nevada VFW mid-winter meeting is this weekend at North Las Vegas.
Five districts will be represented.
The Voice of Democracy contest is for students in ninth-12th grades. The Voice of Democracy Contest is an oral essay contest, and this year’s theme is “Why Are Veterans Important?”
CCHS student Allie Fait placed first at her school and second in the District 4 judging.
Benjamin is competing against other district winners for state recognition. One teacher is selected from the elementary (K-5), middle (6-8) and high school (9-12) levels. District 4 consists of posts in Fallon, Hawthorne, Tonopah, Mina and Schurz.
Benjamin has taught English in Fallon for 10 years, and she has been a voice with the Churchill County School District being selected as a Purple Star School District.
In addition to her classroom teaching, Benjamin has been involved with professional presentations including a 2022 program, “Understanding the Military Child.” The school district and all of its schools led to Churchill County being named a Purple Star School District in 2022.
Benjamin’s application included her work as an educator.
“The Purple Star program is near and dear to my heart as I feel our military students and their families should always be recognized and thanked for their sacrifices for our country’s freedoms,” she wrote.
Benjamin, who formerly taught in the Elko County School District, ensures the military families and students are supported.
Benjamin also comes from a military family. Her father, a sergeant, fought in Vietnam and was the recipient of the Purple Heart. Her brother, an Army sergeant, served in Afghanistan in 2014. While her brother was deployed to Afghanistan, Benjamin said she organized a care box drive with her students.
After her brother returned from Afghanistan, he visited her classes.
Mary Jane Guest, a member of Lawton-Silva VFW Post 1002 in Fallon and this year’s contest chairwoman, and Mike Terry, a VFW Post 1002 member and past chairman of the contest, recognized Benjamin last week for her achievements in supporting the military community. Both Guest and Terry are Navy veterans.