Seton Student Places First In Veterans Essay Contest - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Seton Student Places First In Veterans Essay Contest

December 5th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Seton Student Places First In Veterans Essay Contest

Santan Sun News Staff

Seton Catholic Prep junior Jake Marr placed first in the 2018 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade essay contest.

The Chandler teen was among more than 100 Valley students who entered the essay contest. The theme was, “Out of the Trenches: A Century of Remembrance – World War I 1918.”

This is the third consecutive year a Seton Catholic student has placed first in the essay competition. Last year’s winner was Ethan Bown, and the 2016 winner was Dillon Shipley.

Jake’s essay focused on the horrors of trench warfare during “the Great War.”

He received a cash prize courtesy of Durant’s Restaurant and rode in the Veterans Day Parade. His Advanced Placement Language teacher, Patricia Nash, also received $150 for use in her classroom.

Seton Catholic Principal Victor Serna said, “We are very proud of Jake and his teacher, Mrs. Nash. The fact that our students do so well in the essay contest every year is a great example of how we value and honor our veterans here at Seton Catholic.”

Veterans Day is a regular school day at Seton Catholic, where it is a tradition to observe the holiday with the annual Veterans Day Salute and Rosary for Our Country. The event is an educational opportunity for students to understand the true meaning of Veterans Day and honor the sacrifices of veterans and active duty service men and women.

Here is Jake’s essay:

“Enduring Their Lives In The Trenches: The Soldiers Of WWI”

Imagine a dark world; a world full of blackness and despair. The air reeks of rotten flesh and feces; the smell permeates every inch of porous garments. Food is a luxury; what is consumed is unnamable and unidentifiable.

Mud covers everything; equipment, clothing, quarters, and food cannot escape the mud’s ubiquity. People from different walks of life would call this hell, a nightmare, or punishment. Yet all those who took part in this event were not being punished, but they could not leave. Some of those who saw the conclusion of this war did not truly leave it behind. After their discharge from the army, this sick version of hell on Earth remained with them. All of it hung fresh in their mind.

These heroes could not get away; the wound never healed, it was continually reopened and closed.

The World War I trenches proved to be cause of mental scars to many veterans of the conflict. Numerous brave men endured their lives in the trenches and were privileged enough to leave them behind, but countless amounts of soldiers did not receive the same opportunity.

It was not uncommon to be buried alive, shelling would throw enough dirt onto a man that he could not be dug out. Curiosity killed men as well. A quick look over the trench wall could prove fatal or disabling to one’s skull. Furthermore, even in the confines of the trenches, the mud and water could kill a man.

The constant dampness around a man’s foot would cause it to become gangrenous and require amputation. No matter the situation, nobody was safe in the trenches.

One man knew the trenches well. He was tasked with repairing the trenches and improving them to better suit battle condition. This man was Sergeant Charles Edward Dilkes. He was the leader of a division of trench engineers.

These men led by Dilkes would install first aid stations, create communication trenches, and repair damages done to the various lines. Dilkes’ position sounds like that of a non-combatant, but his every task was done under enemy fire. Sergeant Dilkes put himself and his division in harm’s way on every single mission to ensure the safety and comfort of divisions fighting in the mud. Sergeant Dilkes was a strong man who encountered the horrors of the trenches every day in the war.

Sergeant Dilkes went on to serve up until the signing of the armistice. As Dilkes was discharged from service, he collected his various diaries and records to develop a memoir upon his return to the states.

His contributions to the war shed a different light on the trenches on the allied front. Dilkes maintained the very ground that protected and laid waste to scores of great men. Not every soldier can share the intimacy he had with the trenches.

Seton Prep