Hall High School senior Ashley Keegan won first place in the local VFW Voice of Democracy audio essay competition. She also won first place in the District 9 VFW regional competition. Her essay will advance to the state competition. This year’s prompt was, why I’m optimistic about our nation’s future. Frances Belcher (left), member of the Peru VFW Ladies Auxiliary 8232, and Donna Mueller (right), president, present checks to Ashley Keegan. Also pictured is Ann Maller, Hall English IV instructor.