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Students discuss the stories cemetery stones can tell in essay contest

John Chlian and Gabe Pipo of the DCCA board are pictured with Osakis Elementary School essay winners Jayden Hensley, Brittney Dietrich, Morgan Moore and Cooper Skalsky. (Contributed)1 / 2
John Chlian of the Douglas County Cemetery Association (DCCA) board is pictured with essay winners Loren Hegg, Garrett Moore and Rachel Boyden of St Mary’s School in Alexandria. (Contributed)2 / 2

Fifth grade students from Douglas County schools took part in an essay contest titled “What stories can the stones tell?”

They were encouraged to visit family cemeteries, interview family members, talk with local military veterans or their families, ask questions of local cemetery board members, or review cemetery archives at the Douglas County Historical Society when researching their essays.

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The contest was organized and sponsored by the Douglas County Cemetery Association (DCCA) with assistance from the Alexandria VFW Post 936, Osakis VFW Post 7902, REA’s Operation Round-up and the Nelson Community Center.

This year’s winners included Logan Hegg, Rachel Boyden and Garrett Moore from St. Mary’s School in Alexandria, and Cooper Skalsky, Brittany Dietrich, Jayden Hensley and Morgan Moore from Osakis Elementary School. 

Each received an award certificate and $75.

Awards were presented at the two schools on Wednesday, October 30.

Essays will be archived at the Douglas County Historical Society in Alexandria.

Several students will present their essays at the annual Veterans Day Service on Monday, November 11 at 11 a.m. at Living Waters Church in Alexandria.

DCCA membership includes 43 Douglas County cemeteries. It was formed as a non-profit association in 1996. Information is available at