Runnels Junior High School students Caroline Henning and Anna Claire Pousson won second place in the 2014-15 Bishop Stanley J. Ott Knights of Columbus Patriotic Essay Contest, school officials said.

The contest drew more than 275 submissions from public and private schools in the Baton Rouge area.

This marks the sixth consecutive year that junior high students from Runnels have placed among the top three finishers in the annual writing contest, a news release said.

The theme, “How Do You Show Your Patriotism for Your Country?” proved a meaningful one to Anna Claire and Caroline.

“In my essay,” Caroline said, “I explained how some people show patriotism by shooting off fireworks or cheering for Olympic teams, but for kids my age, it’s sometimes hard to show patriotism. For me, it’s feeling thankful for the freedoms we have in America.”

Anna Claire said the focus of her essay was giving back to members of the armed forces in the community with kindness in small ways. “Small deeds — like opening a door for a disabled veteran — can be more important than big deeds,” she said.

Caroline and Anna Claire wrote their essays as an assignment in English, and teacher Kylie Harbin submitted them, along with those of their classmates, to the contest.

At a Knights of Columbus Essay Contest recognition banquet on March 21, Caroline and Anna Claire will receive plaques and cash awards in the amount of $100 each.