Andrew Cordes, a sixth-grade student at Saint Lawrence in Shelton, earned honorable mention at the national level of Modern Woodmen of America's 2012 School Speech Contest. He is the son of William and Nicole Cordes of Shelton. For his achievement in the fraternal organization's annual contest, Cordes received two award plaques, one for him and one for his school. The topic for this year's nationwide contest was "A time when volunteers made a difference." This year, Modern Woodmen asked all student speakers to select a time in U.S. history when individuals have banded together to improve quality of life. Cordes' speech focused on the difference being made through volunteers in the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He knows about the good the organization can do, because its volunteers helped his family when he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of four. "My wish was to shove a pie in someone's face," he said. "I now wish I had made a better wish \u2014 but I was only four years old at the time." Cordes discussed the history of the organization, how volunteers make a difference and his own story. They do a lot more than grant a wish, he said. "They can't cure diseases, but they can make you feel better." To learn more about Modern Woodmen, go to www.modern-woodmen.org.