A fifth grade Newcomerstown student will compete with other districts winners across the state in the Elks Americanism Essay Contest.

11- year- old Bobby Donathan's essay about "What Makes Me Proud of America," was chosen as the overall winner out of the entire Southeast-Ohio Region.

Steven Pritchard, Exalted Ruler with Newcomerstown Elks recognized Bobby recently at West Elementary School with his certificate and monetary award.

Bobby wrote about the "great military," and said, "Our military has paved the way for Americans to be free to live their lives and seek their dreams."

Bobby's said his father Doyle is a veteran Navy pilot, and that is why he chose to enter the contest.

Mother Laurie says for Bobby to achieve the goal is remarkable, by overcoming his adversity of dyslexia to write the essay, and attending public school only a little more than two years after formerly being home-schooled. She says he exceeding in reading in ways she never thought possible.

Elks essay Chair Paulla Emery hopes more students will take advantage of the opportunity by competing in next year's contest, and looks to make essay subject- matter attractive to youth to apply.

Pritchard said Bobby's essay will be judged against other Ohio district winners in April for a chance to win the National Americanism essay title and travel to the Annual Elks National Convention.