By Tamas Mondovics

Area fifth grade students enjoyed the spotlight last month as the winners of the Hillsborough County Sheriff Junior essayAndrew ShawDeputy Essay contest, among them Arianna Willson and Andrew Shaw, representing FishHawk Creek and Lithia Springs Elementary schools respectively. 

Both students were selected from among an estimated 1,000 students that submitted their work to school principals throughout the county, which was then narrowed to a field of 100 entries, out of which 10 winners were chosen by the contest board for outstanding essays written on the topic, “What being a Junior Deputy means to me.”

Seffner Elementary School students Garry Savary and Dannielle Vigil completed the list of four of the 10 winners representing Seffner, Valrico, Bloomingdale and Lithia communities.

In their essays, the students commented on the dangers of being involved with gangs, drugs, internet predators and shoplifting, just to name a few.Arianna Willson correct  (1)Willson, who loves writing and gets her inspiration from her uncle, spent about two weeks on the project before presenting the final product.

“I am very excited about winning this award,” she said, while her dad, Tony Willson added, “It’s even more exciting to know how many entries there were and show off her skills to her uncle.”

For their talent and effort, the winners were awarded a certificate along with a Kindle Fire HD and a $25 gift check. 

Montoute explained that the Sheriff’s Junior Deputies League has provided educational programs to the students of Hillsborough County for more than 40 years. The Junior Deputy Program is funded through annual donations from the community and funds requested by the Sheriff’s Office through the Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF).

“This fund provides monies to the Junior Deputies League as a result of forfeited assets obtained from criminals and their illegal enterprises,” Montoute said, adding, “The program operates without the help of any taxpayer money. It is designed for fifth grade students and is meant to help them understand and respect the law by practicing good citizenship.”                                 

As for Arianna, the win is just a stepping stone toward fulfilling her goal of writing children’s books and being involved in elementary education.

For more information, visit www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.