Honoring America’s Veterans announces winners of 2023 High School Essay Contest

Honoring America’s Veterans announces the winners of the 2023 High School Essay Competition.  More than 130 high school students entered the contest, which required students to write a 300-400 word essay based on the theme of both the essay competition and the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, “Never Forget, Forever Honor.” Entries were judged for their focus on the quality of the story and its impact, writing and grammar, and adherence to the theme. A winner is declared for each high school grade level. 9-12, and this year, HAV partnered with College Bound for a fifth winner. 

This year’s winners are: 


9th Grade 

Clairet Riesgraf

Arizona College Prep
Teacher Cody Bratz

10th Grade

Shandlin Harrison

Mesquite High School
Teacher Greg Kahn

11th Grade

Diego Lenzi

Seton Catholic Prep
Teacher Jessica Breen

12th Grade

Brueklyn Curley

Maryvale High School
Teacher Michelle Wagner

College Bound: 12th Grade

Eduardo Rios

Coronado High School
Teacher Dr. Jo Markette

The winning students earn a $250 scholarship, prizes, and an opportunity to ride in the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade. This year, Honoring America’s Veterans, the nonprofit that hosts the competition, partnered with College Bound and is adding a fifth winner. That winning student will receive the same gifts but will ride on the College Bound float in the East Valley Veterans Day Parade, while the four traditional winners will ride on the Hall of Flame Fire Truck in the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade. Both parades are set for Saturday Nov. 11th. 

 In addition to the students winning scholarships, the teachers who help support the efforts of the students by submitting, also receive a $150 cash award for use in their school.

Congratulations to all our 2023 essay winners! Join them at the 27th annual Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade, Saturday, November 11th, at 11 a.m. For more information about the parade visit the Honoring America’s Veterans website.