(Photo by John Schneider) Recent Caro High School graduate Lilly Hessling (left), pictured with Caro Garden Club President Kathy Sauber, displays the award she received for finishing second nationally in the U.S. Garden Club’s annual essay competition.

Caro student produces nationally-recognized essay

Lilly Hessling says she was honored to win the Caro Garden Club’s annual essay contest.

And then the honors began intensifying.

The theme for this year’s Garden Club essay contest was how plastic water bottles impact the environment, and the recently graduated Caro High School student’s effort racked up the honors all the way to the national Garden Club level.

“There was a crowd of about 400 (entrants) at the state garden convention this spring,” said Caro Garden Club President Kathy Sauber. “And they announced Lilly, and I said, ‘Oh my gosh!’”

After it was announced that Hessling beat out hundreds of entries at the state garden club level, the president of the national garden club association, who was on hand, announced that Hessling also took first in the seven-state Midwest region, and placed second nationally.

“I was out with my family somewhere and I got the text (from Sauber) and I looked down and it said ‘guess what?’” Hessling said. “I thought ‘no way.’ I was in shock.”

In her essay, Hessling not only wrote of the impact of plastic on the environment, but pointed out how much water is wasted in bottled-water production.

“Not only can the plastic harm the beautiful Earth you live on, but it can also severely affect the irreplaceable water supply that we all drink from every day,” she wrote, citing a story from the Huffington Post. “Out of one bottle of water that you drink, it takes three times the actual volume of the bottle to manufacture. Most of the water that is used in the manufacturing process becomes undrinkable due to the chemical production of plastic.”

Hessling played basketball, softball and volleyball at Caro, serving as captain in volleyball and basketball. Off the field, she was a member of the Interact Club, Youth in Government, Key Club and National Honor Society.

Hessling plans to attend Saginaw Valley State University where she will pursue a secondary education degree.

John Schneider is editor of The Advertiser. He can be reached at john@tcadvertiser.com.

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