Hanna, the daughter of Amanda and Gregg Barnett, Staunton, was shocked to find out she won during the award ceremony at school Wednesday morning.
"I'm really surprised that I won," the excited 11-year-old told The Brazil Times after receiving a certificate of recognition from ISP Public Information Officer Sgt. Joe Watts. "This is exciting."
Watts said Hanna would join essay winners from the other 91 counties in Indiana later this year at an awards ceremony in Indianapolis, where they each will be presented with an engraved plaque and a $500 US Savings Bond. However, there is more potential for Barnett's essay to be recognized.
"The top four runner-ups will then be announced and presented $750 savings bonds," Watts said. "And then a state winner will be selected, who will receive a $1,000 savings bond."
During the past 13 years, the program has provided more than $350,000 in savings bonds and other awards to fifth-grade students throughout the state.
"This is a great opportunity to build a rapport between our officers and the students," Watts said.
Hanna, who's looking forward to attending North Clay Middle School in the fall, admits to looking a little further into her future.
When asked about a career choice, she said, "I've thought about becoming a police officer."
About the contest
The Indiana State Police Dave Deuter Essay Contest is named in honor of Master Trooper David Deuter who was killed in the line of duty July 16, 1998.
Every January, fifth-grade students in all 92 counties in Indiana are encouraged to write 100-word essays on the topic of "What being a good citizen means to me."
Essays are judged on originality, neatness, spelling and grammar.