After placing first place among KHS eighth-grade students, Hilburn's essay was submitted to the VFW, District 15 which is located in Cape Girardeau, Mo., by Phillip Greenway, Sergeant Major, Missouri National Guard, 205th Military Police Battalion (retired), and Commander of the VFW in Kennett.
At a Veterans Day Assembly which was held on Nov. 7, 2012, in the KMS gymnasium, Hilburn was recognized and honored for placing first. During the assembly, other local award recipients were also recognized and honored.
According to Ward Billings, principal at KMS, the school was notified by Greenway that Hilburn's essay had been selected second place in the district level competition.
"Commander Greenway was very excited for Hadley, KMS, our school district and our community," Billings said. "He advised me that Hadley's second place finish is the highest placement by any KMS eighth-grade student in the 18 years in which KMS has participated in the 'Patriot's Pen Essay Contest.' We are extremely proud of Hadley for this wonderful achievement, and sincerely appreciate the support of the VFW at both the local and district levels, and in particular for the continued support of Commander Greenway."
Continuing, Billings commented, "Hadley is an outstanding student at KMS, and so it does not surprise me that she finished so high in the district level competition. She is a very intelligent, highly motivated and respectful person who possesses an exemplary work ethic. I am confident that even at her young age, Hadley has an understanding of, and deep appreciation for, the tremendous sacrifices which have been made by the men and women of the United State Armed Forces. She is, undoubtedly, one of the finest students that I have ever known, and she is a young lady for whom the future will be grateful."
Hilburn is a member of the KMS Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, and a member of the KMS Student Council where she currently serves as vice-president. She was a member of the KMS Girls Basketball Team during both her seventh and eighth grade years. She was also instrumental in helping the Lady Indians Basketball Team finish undefeated in both conference regular season and conference tournament play during both years. Additionally, Hilburn is a member of Girl Scout Troop 258, is a member of the Kennett Swim Team, and is an active member of the First United Methodist Church in Kennett.
She will be recognized and honored, along with other district level award recipients, at the VFW District 15 Awards Banquet on Jan. 20, 2013 and on Feb. 5, 2013, she will be recognized and honored along with other local award recipients, at the VFW Post 5443 Awards Dinner.