Brianna Hansel

Brianna Hansel (left) accepts the first-place award and giant check during the assembly last week at Douglas High School. Other top honorees are MacKinzey Peregoy, Trinity Letcher, Callie Kunz and Tai Johnston (not pictured).

Douglas High School English teacher Robyn Wilkinson worked hard to keep it a secret last week, and it apparently stayed that way . . . up until a special unannounced assembly brought a curious student body to the auditorium to watch four of their classmates be surprised.

Just before Christmas, her students wrote essays for the American Dream Essay contest, which is sponsored by The Zimmerman Family Foundation, Larry and Margo Bean, Kevin and Julie Murphy, Hilltop National Bank, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming. Students were given a list that explained the “Ten Principles to Live By” from the book Cowboy Ethics by James P. Owens and asked to describe how one of those principals has acted as a guiding force in their lives.

On Feb. 23, the four local winners were called to the auditorium stage in front of their peers for the surprise announcements.

As the top local winner, Brianna Hansel received $300, a free night’s stay at the Ramkota Hotel prior to the American Dream Essay Contest Awards Luncheon on April 10, publication in the American Dream Essay winners booklet, and has the chance to win $5,000 if selected as the state winner.

Trinity Letcher’s essay was selected as the second-place winner. She received $200.

MacKinzey Peregoy won third place and received $100.

Winning honorable mention were Tai Johnston and Callie Kunz.

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