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High-powered panel to choose student essay winner on the American flag

When local students write about what the American flag means to them — for a contest sponsored by the Republican National Convenion — they’ll be judged by some well-known community folks.

The contest is open to students in grades 7-12 from Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties. The 500-word essays will answer the question “What does the American Flag mean to you?” They’ll be submitted through the convention’s website and through the Pioneer Press’ website. Entries are due May 15.

The winner gets to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at a convention event in early September.

The judges are: Rachel Stassen-Berger, Pioneer Press political reporter; John Sampson, director of federal government affairs of Microsoft Corp.; John Stanoch, Qwest Minnesota president; retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Denny Schulstad, a former Minneapolis City Council member; Chas Anderson, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education; KSTP news anchor Leah McClain; and Jo Ann Davidson, chairman of the 2008 Republican National Convention.

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