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The winners of the annual Best Dad essay contest, sponsored by Dickinson Jewelers, Jerry’s Place and Dunkirk Hardware and Home Center, were recognized and had a chance to read their winning essays to their dads May 1. Sgt. Mike Bomgardner of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office had the difficult task of choosing a handful of winning essays out of more than 650 entries from students ages 6 to 12.

1st place

Name: Jordan Hayes

Dad: David Hayes

Grade: 1

School: Patuxent Elementary

Teachers: Jessica Hayden and Carrie Reifinger

Prize: A Bulova watch from Dickinson Jewelers

Daddy makes sure I’m happy.

A daddy’s love is special.

Daddy has a special magic.

Dad has a kindness you can’t give away.

You love a dad for life.

My dad is the best! You have a once in a lifetime love. You need a dad’s love for life.

2nd place

Name: Paige Plater

Dad: Darrick Plater

Grade: 2

School: Beach Elementary

Teacher: Cheryl Englert

Prize: Dinner for two at Jerry’s Place

This is why I have the best dad ever. First, my dad takes me on daddy-daughter dates and brings me roses that are the color pink or red. Second, my dad surprised me on Valentine’s Day and had some men come to our house and sing love songs to us. Third, my dad plays games with me outside. He plays football, soccer and tennis. He also plays board games with me. He plays Candy Land with me. So you see, my dad cares for me and loves me no matter what I do.

3rd place

Name: Dahlia Lamb

Dad: Gary Lamb Jr.

Grade: 5

School: Windy Hill Elementary

Teacher: Allison Parker

Prize: A Weber charcoal grill, complete with bag of charcoal, grill set and grill cleaner, from Dunkirk Hardware and Home Center.

Gary Lamb Jr. is the best dad in the whole world. The reason I love my dad so much is because he is hardworking and teaches me that I can work hard just like him. My dad is a good role model, too. He shows my brother and I to never quit. My daddy is also trustworthy. Once he promised to take my brother and I out and he did! He took my brother and I to Traders, my favorite restaurant. My dad is also very athletic. He will do anything to get me to play outside. My dad is my hero!