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Veronica’s triple victory

Amanda Barnes, a Grade 10 student at Port Hardy’s Avalon Adventist Junior Academy, gets a hug and a cheque from George Kearey of Port Hardy’s Royal Canadian Legion branch. Barnes earned a rare “triple crown” win the in the Legion’s annual Remembrance Day poster, essay and poetry contest. - Photo submitted
Amanda Barnes, a Grade 10 student at Port Hardy’s Avalon Adventist Junior Academy, gets a hug and a cheque from George Kearey of Port Hardy’s Royal Canadian Legion branch. Barnes earned a rare “triple crown” win the in the Legion’s annual Remembrance Day poster, essay and poetry contest.
— image credit: Photo submitted

PORT HARDY—After coming up empty-handed a year ago in the annual Royal Canadian Legion Remembrance Day poster contest, Veronica Barnes did not have particularly high hopes when she entered this fall.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to the Grade 10 student at Port Hardy’s Avalon Adventist Junior Academy, swept prizes across three categories to achieve a rare “triple crown” in the local portion of the contest for elementary and secondary school students.

For her wins in the colour poster design, essay writing and poetry categories, Barnes qualified to advance to the zone competition against students from across the northern half of Vancouver Island, and claimed a $90 cheque in a presentation by George Kearey of Port Hardy’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch.

“Last year I tried really hard and got nothing,” said Barnes. “This year I said, ‘I’ll just do it to get a grade.’ I just rushed through it and got first place.”

Kearey noted the only thing tougher at the local level is adding a win for black-and-white poster, the fourth jewel in the contest. Frankly, he said when asked, the triple crown is a very uncommon feat.

“Oh, bloody rights it is,” Kearey said. “You try to do it.”

Barnes was one of 13 Avalon entrants competing against students in other Port Hardy schools, and just one of six first-place winners.

Danielle Lacasse was a double winner in the Grade 8 competition, for her essay and her colour poster. Other first-place winners were Matthew McDonald (Gr. 10), Audrey Johnson (Gr. 9), Serenity Galitzine (Gr. 7) and Devin Gullacher (Gr. 5).

It was the best showing yet in the contest for the small private school, principal Clifford Wood said.

“Oh my gosh, they all moved up,” he said. “Each student placing first, second or third received a cash prize and a certificate for each category.”

Barnes had been home sick for three days and nearly missed the awards presentation by Kearey. The presentation turned out to be something of an early present for the student, who said she had early spent her babysitting money to help provide a pair of shoes to a needy youth in Africa through the TOMS Shoe Drop program.

“I got Christmas money,” Barnes said of the Legion prize.

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