Attorney General Fox and the Montana Police Protective Association Announce Winners of Annual Student Essay Contest

Attorney General Tim Fox and the Montana Police Protective Association (MPPA) today announced the winners of MPPA’s 19th annual statewide essay contest for 8th grade students. This year’s theme was: “Prescription Drug Abuse: What to Do?”

“I want to thank the Montana Police Protective Association for hosting this essay contest, the teachers who encouraged their students to enter, and all our young people who shared their ideas for ending prescription drug abuse,” said Attorney General Tim Fox. “More than five percent of Montana’s 7th and 8th graders, and nearly 16 percent of our high school students have misused or abused prescription drugs in the past. It’s so important for students to understand how prescription drug abuse gets in the way of academic and personal goals, and the devastating lifelong consequences it can have for abusers and their families.”

MPPA Executive Director Jerry Williams said, “The members of the MPPA deal with prescription drug abuse on a daily basis, and were thrilled to see so many 8th graders participate in the essay contest. Attorney General Fox is working hard to educate the public about the horrors of prescription drug abuse and find solutions; the MPPA is pleased his office has partnered with us to heighten awareness of this devastating problem.”

In February, MPPA sent entry forms to every Montana school with an 8th grade; the essay submission deadline was April. The state was divided into four regions; there were winners in each region. First place winners received $300; second place winners received $200; third place winners received $100. The grand prize winner, Jaelee Strangford of Ekalaka, was selected from the four first place winners in each region, and received $1,000.

Regional winners are:

Region 1
Place/Name School City Prize
1st – Rodrigo Rodriguez East Middle School Butte $300
2nd – Jenna Sanders East Middle School Butte $200
3rd – Casey Schneider Whitefish Middle School Whitefish $100

Region 2
1st – Abigail Bock Valier Junior High School Valier $300
2nd – Kyle J. Watt West Yellowstone School West Yellowstone $200
3rd – Sarada Leavitt Gallatin Gateway Gallatin Gateway $100

Region 3
1st – Jamie Eckhardt Lewistown Junior HS Lewistown $300
2nd – Cole Bare Reed Point School Reed Point $200
3rd – Kylie Ward Columbus Middle School Columbus $100

Region 4
1st – Jaelee Strangford Ekalaka Public Schools Ekalaka $300
2nd – Kannon Ferestad Scobey Schools Scobey $200
3rd – Zoey Crater Glasgow Middle School Glasgow $100

Attorney General Fox and MPPA President Jason Wells recently presented the regional winners in Butte, Reed Point, and Columbus their awards.

Established 2005, the MPPA Foundation supports the 8th Grade Essay Contest, the Torch Run for Special Olympics, the Montana Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program, Operation Lifesaver, scholarships, and law enforcement officers with serious illnesses. For more information, visit