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Essay contest winner gets to lead GOP convention Pledge in her hometown

A 15-year-old freshman from St. Agnes High School in St. Paul has won the essay contest sponsored by the Republican National Convention. The winner, Victoria Blackstone of Roseville, now gets to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at some point during the convention, to be held in St. Paul Sept. 1-4.

She wrote 434 words about “Pledging Myself to the Flag of the United States of America.” The contest  was “Wave the Stars and Stripes.”

Mark Rugnetta, 13, an eighth-grader at Eagle Ridge Junior High School from Savage, was runner-up for his 337-word essay titled “Colors on Cloth.”

Each will receive a laptop computer and an Xbox, and their essays will be published in Sunday’s Pioneer Press.

Essays by all 10 finalists will be sent to Minnesota National Guard members now serving in Iraq, organizers said.

The other eight finalists, who will receive computer software and a Zune music player, are:

• Thomas D’Agostino, Woodbury, 14, St.Ambrose of Woodbury, Grade 7

• Christopher Fiore, Lakeville, 16, Christian Life School, Grade 10

• Katharine Golightly, St. Paul, 17, Faith Baptist Christian School, Grade 11

• Brendan Halleron, Victoria, 16, Holy Family Catholic High School, Grade 10

• Emily Hoffmann, Minnetonka, 16, Holy Family Catholic High School, Grade 11

• Sandra Opokua, St. Paul, 15, Cleveland Junior High School, Grade 8

• Sam Roden, Eden Prairie, 15, home schooled, Grade 8.

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