April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, it serves as a reminder that thriving families depend on strong support systems. Support can come from family, friends, neighbors, and... Winners Announced in National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, it serves as a reminder that thriving families depend on strong support systems. Support can come from family, friends, neighbors, and others in the community, but everyone has a role to play to help keep children safe.

The Grant County Child Protection Team sponsored an essay contest to highlight someone special who serves as a role model for a child in our area. The contest was open to students in third through eighth grade.  

Heidi Wellnitz, school counselor for Milbank Middle School and MHS, who coordinated the contest, said, “Congratulations to the essay winners and also to their special someone for being a great role model.” 

Essay winners include: Carter Liebe, Ella Koplin, Hannah Henrich, Jace Peiker, Kendra Grong, Liam Heller, and Raina Untalan. Their winning essays are printed here in their entirety:

My Special Someone By: Carter Liebe

There are many people in my life who encourage me and teach me. Pastors, Mom, Dad, sister, teacher. However, there is one person who has always left a good impression on me, one person who makes me the best that I can be. One person who will always be there for me, even if I act addle-headed. That person for me is my brother Max Liebe. He has taught me so much, whether it comes from working on something with him, or just talking to him. Whenever I feel unsure about something, I know that Max will give me an honest and concise answer. I am someone who can get very nervous over little things, but if I talk to Max, he can give me clarity on what to do. Max is someone who both listens to you, and truly cares, and is someone who can share his mind. There aren’t many who will do anything with you, who will try something new, who will make you laugh quite like Max. I am so grateful that he is my brother, and I’m so thankful that he is involved with my life. I pray that our relationship will only grow stronger with time. Having him go to college was so hard to do, such a big change. I was so afraid that I would never talk nearly as much anymore. However, since you’ve moved on, I’ve only come to appreciate our time together even more. Thank you for everything Max.

My Someone Special Essay By: Ella Koplin

I had a dream last night that my someone special Maddy Liebe won the special someone essay. I picked Maddy Liebe to be my special someone. Maddy has been there my whole life. Maddy’s mom is my mom’s best friend. That is how I know her so well. While Maddy has been at college I miss her every day. Maddy is like a sister to me. I think she should win the special someone award because she is always there, she is the nicest person I know, she is very helpful, and is very loving.

The first reason why Maddy should win the special someone award is because she is always there. Maddy and her mom come with my mom and me everywhere. They come to concerts with us. The latest concert that we went to was a Lauren Degal concert. We all had so much fun. If I get hurt, she always help me. If something happens to anybody, she is there.

The next reason why Maddy is the most special person in the world is because she is one of the nicest persons I know. She is so nice because she helps anybody do what they need. Whenever I ask her if she can bring me and some of my friends tubing at the lake she will almost always say yes. She is so nice.

Another reason why Maddy should win the award is because she is very, very, very helpful. Maddy works at my house at Schmidt’s Landing. She is very good at working and is always helping. She will do the laundry, clean rooms, and do the dishes. Maddy is the best

Lastly, I think Maddy should win the special someone award because she is loving. Maddy is so loving because she cares for everybody. She’ll make anybody smile when they are sad. I think she is the most loving person I know. She drove pretty far late at night to see if her brother was okay when he broke his collarbone. That’s how she’s loving.

In conclusion I think that Maddy should win the special someone award because she is always there, really nice, she is very helpful, and is very loving. That is why I think Maddy should win the special someone award.

My Someone Special By: Hannah Henrich

My special someone is Mrs. Knoll. She is my special someone because she’s a very good teacher and she is always friendly.

Mrs. Knoll makes me very happy and she always helps me with my homework. She does not like bananas or snakes and she likes whales and dolphins.

Mrs. Knoll is a good mom. I admire her for doing arts and crafts with her kids and she is creative.

Mrs. Knoll really likes to shop at Target, Amazon, and Whimsy on main.

In the summer she goes to the farm to garden and plants flowers at her house. I love to see her in the summertime when she is at Mr. Snaza’s house.

I’m going to miss her very much when I leave 8th grade and when I graduate high school. I would love to go out for lunch sometime with my someone special, Mrs. Knoll.

My Special Person By: Jace Peiker

My special person is Mrs. Jungers. She was my Junior Kindergarten teacher.

Mrs. Jungers is special because when I was feeling blue or shy, she would make me feel happy. She was the nicest teacher ever. She never gave me a hard time. We could play with the toys before we started school. She is the 5-star teacher in the world.

Mrs. Jungers is truly the nicest teacher because she helped with a smile or a “Hi Jace” or “Good morning, Jace.” That felt good! She is the most loving person and sweet person. She helped me in a way that nobody could.

Someone Special Essay: Kendra Grong 4th Grade – 2022

Someone amazingly special to me is my sister because she has helped me through so many rough times. Before I begin the story, she is 13 years old and her birthday is May 22nd. She is so special to me because she has helped me through so many rough times. One of the times I am thinking about is when I was showing pigs because I was really upset because my pig would not listen. She stepped in and said everything would be okay, just don’t freak out, and you will be amazing. Another trait about her is that she is amazingly funny. A story about her funniness is when it was New Years Eve and we live in the Central time zone and we were watching the Eastern time zones ball drop. If you didn’t know they are an hour behind us so it was 11:00 for us but 12:00 for them. So, my sister said to my family to trick me and I thought that our ball drop was then and they all fooled me. She is very kind, and she says I am too and I said I learned from the best. I am writing this to show how much I care about her. One last story is we were at the river (Akasaka, SD) and we were sweating because it was so hot, so we went to the park. So, after we were done Kalli said we should go to the river and swim but when we got there the river was green. So, my mom said let’s leave and we were about to leave and Kalli pushed me in the river. So, I pushed her in and we just started laughing out loud. That is why I wrote about my amazing sister.

Someone Special By: Liam Heller

For my Special Person essay I am going to pick my Grandpa John. I am picking my grandpa because he is funny and will always crack a joke. My grandpa has a ton of knowledge when it comes to any type of vehicle. He enjoys riding his bicycle. He knows bikes like the back of his hand.

I chose my grandpa for just how much he wants a person to understand and succeed at something. An example would be me learning how to take off the deck off a mower and clean it. Another example would be how to maintain a bicycle. It could be as simple as him teaching me something about a bike like how to hook a chain back on a bike. I have learned so much from him because when there is a job that needs to be done he asks if I want to come and help. That is the best way to learn how to do things on your own. I feel that he is teaching me independence.

When you are doing something wrong he corrects it and then in the future you will not make that same mistake again. My grandpa is always willing to help anyone, if they are at all struggling he will help. He is teaching me how to be independent and selfless. My grandpa is always selfless. Next, my grandpa will never give up when a project is started. An example would be him not understanding something, the example is like if a bike is severely messed up he will put all of his time into fixing and repairing the bike to his full ability. My Grandpa and grandma are always inviting us over for suppers. We have a meal with our whole family every Sunday. He makes sure he cracks a few jokes here and there

That is why I picked my Grandpa John for my Special Person Essay.

My Someone Special By: Raina Untalan

Someone who loves you, takes care of you, and will always be there for you whenever you need it is someone very special. That person could be your mother, father, or anybody that is special to you. Someone really special to me is my grandma.

She does so many things with me and my sisters when we are at her house. We love to go on golf cart rides. We always rush to the golf cart to get in the driver’s seat. It is so much fun to drive, and everyone gets a turn. In the basement is where most of the games are. We play board games most of the time, and she has so many options to choose from. When we play cards, my grandma loves to teach us new and different games to play with them.

In the summer my sisters and I help with the garden. She grows a lot of things, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, potatoes, green beans, and so much more. So, there are always vegetables to pick. With the vegetables we pick, we make vegetable soup. This is one of our favorite meals when we are with our grandparents. While my grandma, my sisters, and I make soup, my grandpa is busy making steak to go with it. I am always happy to help my grandma in the kitchen.

Another thing I love about my grandma is that she always has a purse full of goodies. She usually carries mints and lemon drops. Lemon drops are one of my favorite candies to eat when I’m watching my cousin at basketball games. She always makes time to come to my sports and other activities too. She is really supportive and loves to tell me how good I did. When I’m done, she spoils me and my sisters with a treat.

My grandma is awesome. She is such a brave and strong person. In fact, she’s a two-time survivor of breast cancer. She has gone through a lot. She also broke her ankle when she was taking out her dog, KC. KC is a really playful and energetic dog and accidently tripped her. No one was home at the time, so she had to crawl to the neighbor’s house for help.

Overall, my grandma is the best. She is always there for me, and is the kindest person I know. I love her very much. Anyone would be lucky to have a grandma like mine. I am very blessed to have someone like her in my life.


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