MEREDITH — Steve Durand, of the Meredith 250th Celebration Committee, said he had second thoughts about approaching Overhead Door Options about sponsoring the Youth Ambassador Essay Competition. After all, the local business had already contributed to the 250th campaign.
He shouldn't have worried, it turned out. The family-run business immediately agreed to sponsor not one but all three prize levels of the essay contest.
"Which is pretty amazing," said Jeanie Forrester, a member of the 250th Committee.
Thanks to backing from the Leighton Family, which operates Overhead Door Options, the student whose essay wins the Youth Ambassador award will receive $500, the first place finisher will win $250 and second place will receive $100.
"We pride ourselves in the community we live in – youth is a big part of that," said Nick Leighton.
"Our youth is our future," added Lynn Leighton.
Forrester said the idea for a Youth Ambassador was brought to the committee by Lynn Montana, whose sister, Paige, had been crowned Miss Meredith for the town's 225th. After discussion with other committee members, it was decided to select a talented young person via an essay contest instead of a pageant. The contest is open to any high school senior, either attending Inter-Lakes High School or homeschooled, who lives in Meredith. The essays, which must be written about some historical aspect of Meredith, are due by Dec. 6 and will be judged by a five-person panel. More information, including an application, can be found by visiting www.greatermeredithprogram.com and opening the "Programs & Projects" pull-down menu.
The winner of the contest will read his or her essay at the 250th Kickoff Celebration, to be held Dec. 30 at Hart's Turkey Farm. The ambassador will also be expected to attend other 250th events throughout 2018, including the Main Street Parade in August, a time capsule opening in July and the 2018 Dinner Celebration, held next December.
The Meredith 250th Committee announced that Overhead Door Options, operated by the Leighton family, is underwriting the prizes for the Youth Ambassador Essay Competition. From left: Lindsey, Nick and Lynn Leighton are joined by committee members Steve Durand and Jeanie Forrester. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)