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Students Find Inspiration in Code of the West

Streeter Boatright, senior at Natrona County High School, wins first place in the 2018 American Dream Essay Contest. ©BGCCW2018

A Natrona County High School senior’s tale of how his ancestry defined his personal brand through the hum of a sewing machine earned him the top prize at the American Dream Essay Contest. Streeter Boatright received a total of $5,300.00 for his essay titled “The Brand, and a Bernina”. His essay explained how his life and that of his grandparents are interwoven and connected through a common hobby – sewing. The lessons he learned from his great-grandfather, a tailor, were to work with courage, toughness and expertise. And from his grandmother, he learned to connect with a curiosity and a passion for learning. Boatright’s essay was chosen as winning entry out of more than 800 essays submitted in the statewide competition.

Anthony Ramirez from Southeast High School in Yoder received $3,300.00 for his second place essay and MacKenna Swan from Sheridan won $2,300.00 for her third place essay. The awards were handed out Sunday in Casper.

2nd place winner, Anthony Ramirez, Southeast High School; 1st place winner, Streeter Boatright, Natrona County High School; Mackenna Swan, Sheridan High School

The American Dream Essay Contest is centered on bestselling author, Jim Owen’s “Ten Principles to Live By,” as highlighted in his book Cowboy Ethics. Every high school and homeschool student is invited to participate by asking students in grades 9-12, to reflect on the ten principles and write an essay based on their own personal beliefs or guiding forces.

Students representing 27 Wyoming schools are honored and recognized at the annual luncheon held in Casper. ©BGCCW2018

A total of 826 students, representing 27 schools, participated in this year’s contest. Monetary awards are given for first, second, and third place winners on the local level. The first place winner from each school is forwarded to the state competition where their essay was evaluated by a separate panel of judges to determine the state winner. The top essay wins $5,000.00 cash, second place receives $3,000.00 and third $2,000.00. Sponsoring teachers also receive monetary incentives for participation and a prize if their student’s essay wins at the state level.  More than $39,000.00 was awarded in prize money.

35 educators participated in the annual contest. ©BGCCW2018

The American Dream Essay contest is sponsored by the Templeton Foundation, Zimmerman Family Foundation, Robert P. Schuster, Larry and Margo Bean, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming.


  • Michelle Kepferle says:

    I would love to read the winner’s essay. I also would be interested in the others writings. I am a graduate of NCHS , class of 1973. I am so proud of you all!!! I previously worked for Robert Schuster as a legal secretary my first year after graduation.
    I went into the arts myself. I am a clothing designer and an artist.
    Congratulations to all of you!!!

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