- March 7, 2018
Robert E, Willis Elementary teacher Suzanne Tomlin told her fifth grade students to try to "hook the reader" when they began writing for the Elks Americanism Essay Contest.
River Club 11-year-old Luka Schlosberg listened, and because of it, he landed a prized catch.
Schlosberg's essay, which had to address the theme "How Can Patriotism Be Demonstrated," won the Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge contest, then the Elks Southwest Region contest before capturing first place in Division 1 (fifth-sixth grades) in the Elks state competition.
He received a $1,500 first-place award for the state contest along with a trip with his family to the Elks state convention May 29-30 in Orlando.
Schlosberg started his essay by writing, "Hello, welcome to America. I am Luca your tour guide." He then explained ways to demonstrate patriotism and respect. Essays had to be less than 300 words.
With his $1,500 award, Schlosberg said he will buy a new desk for his room where he will do more writing.
His mother, Kim Schlosberg, said winning the Elks contest has shown her son that if he takes the initiative to work hard, it will bring positive results. She also said she was grateful to the Elks for hosting the contest.
"We need to make kids think about America and how it got to be what it is, and how to keep it that way," said Jerry Ditty, who is the Exalted Ruler of the Lakewood-Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge.
Kathy Dattilo headed the Elks committee that organized the contest for the Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge.
"It's a great contest to promote patriotism in young people," she said. "The essays were interesting, but Luka had a different approach. His essay showed he put a lot of effort into it."
Also on the committee were Rick and Kay Thorson, JoAnn Ready, Kathy Dattilo.
Schlosberg's essay now goes to the Elks' national level. The winner will be announced in July.