By Corrine MacLean
PORT HAWKESBURY: The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #43 in Port Hawkesbury, presented their special awards on June 4. The Legion awarded Grade 8 student Sara Pluta, daughter of Dr. Paul Pluta and Karen Pluta, with honors at the general meeting.
“We were proud to present Sara with a plaque, flowers, and $500 cheque,” says Kelly Conrad, Public Relations Chairperson for the Legion, Branch #43.
The awards were for the Legion’s Remembrance Day contest.
Pluta won first place with her poem “My PTSD” in the Intermediate Poetry category. She took first at several different levels: first place at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #43, first place at the provincial level for the Royal Canadian Legion Nova Scotia/Nunavit Command, and finally first place at the national level for the Royal Canadian Legion, Dominion Command.
“I was really excited about it,” says Pluta about her awards. “I participated in the contest for a couple of years now and this is the first time that I’ve done so well in it.”
Pluta had first heard of the contest back in fifth grade at her school, Tamarac Education Centre. She has been participating in the contest since then, doing so on her own.
“It’s from the perspective of a veteran with PSTD, and then by the end it’s about them getting better,” Pluta explained. “I came up with the idea when I saw commercials about PTSD. It took me a while, but it was easy once I got the words flowing.”
The contest is held every year for art and literacy, and is open for students. It’s divided into categories based on grades primary to 12. Students at any skill level are able to participate, and every submission focuses on the theme of Remembrance Day, and sent to the Port Hawkesbury Royal Canadian Legion.