Warren student’s writing, art skills earn VFW awards
WARREN — Gianna Jones, a senior at Warren G. Harding High School, has used her writing and artistic talents to earn honors in a Veterans of Foreign Wars-sponsored contest.
Jones recently was named a winner at the VFW Voice of Democracy contest in Independence and then placed in the top 25 in Washington, D.C., as one of more than 50 finalists nationwide. She was being sponsored by District 8 VFW Post 1090 and Auxiliary of Warren.
Leigh Ann Zigler, VFW Post 1090 auxiliary member and District 8 scholarship program chairperson for Trumbull, Mahoning, Portage and Summit, said Jones had to do a three- to five-minute essay on the topic, “American History: Our Hope for the Future.”
At the local level she won $1,000 and at the state level $8,000. In Washington D.C., Jones earned $2,000 for her national placing. Top prize nationally was $30,000.
Jones is also entering an art piece in another contest called the Young American Patriotic Award, sponsored by the VFW.
Jones said when thinking of an entry for the art contest, she wanted to do something realistic. The art contest is set for April 15 at the state level with the national event set for May based on each state’s winner.
She plans to become an art / psychology major in college.
Jones said she decided to take part in the essay contest after her sister, Gabrielle, competed and won for the 2016-17 year.
“I focused on Veterans Day and put an artistic spin on it personifying the flag as a sole protector of our country,” Jones said.
“It was really exciting to be going to Washington D.C.,” she said.
Jones’ mother, Michelle Postiy, said her daughter also had to write a creative statement with her artwork which depicts an image of Iwo Jima.
Jones said she wanted to show gratitude to all Marines and those who have fought beside them.
“They treat the students like they are the heroes. They are the people being honored. It is such an interesting reflection. These are veterans who are treating are students so well,” Postiy said.
Zigler said listening to the speeches is “very inspiring.”
“They speak to our veterans of what it means to be a soldier and represent the United States,” she said.
Zigler said the local level was challenging to select a winner and noted the national level has to be even more challenging.
“It was hard enough for us as we had ties for second and third place,” Zigler said.
Jones has been involved with Girl Scouts for 13 years and for her Girl Scout Gold Award she decorated large boards that were used to cover vacant properties off Elm Road and Atlantic Street.
Zigler said Jones could also earn a scholarship from VFW for her involvement with Girl Scouts.
Jones, daughter of Postiy and Steve Jones, said she credits her English and art teachers for her success with the essay and art piece.