Cynthia Woodruff-Neer introduced the talented middle schoolers who won this year’s 4-Way Essay Contest. The essays were written during the month of February. A committee consisting of Sue Robinson, Julie Jenkins, Nancy McKarney and Cynthia. Cynthia then introduced Mr. Donaldson, Language Arts teacher at Santa Lucia Middle School. This is his 3rd year advising on this project and it was challenging during virtual learning. Mr. Donaldson thanked us for doing this and helping to pull it off during a COVID year. It wasn’t easy and the participation was less than desirable but he is sure they will come back pretty strong next year. The award money is a great motivation and it is great that we link this sort of opportunity to money and excelling at things like this will eventually lead to exactly that. Thank you all, also, for the volleyball grant. We are going to try to pull off our volleyball camp run by Mr. Donaldson and some high school students. Volleyball is a thing in Cambria and it has been strong for years now. 

We are pleased to announce the winners of the contest: 

3rd Place: Launa Hedding 

2nd Place: Anna Schalk 

1st Place: Juan Urbina 

The winners will each receive a certificate and cash prizes: $100 for 1st place, $75 for 2nd and $50 for 3rd. The students were also encouraged to consider joining Interact when they reach high school. 

Peace Essay Winners 

Julie Jenkins told us that in December we reached out to Sarah Johnston, English teacher, to ask whether she was interested in coordinating a Peace Essay Contest for her students. As the daughter of Rotarians, she embraced the idea immediately but needed to figure out how to work it into the year’s course work. It fit best into the “inquiry” module that was coming up in February (it wasn’t ideal but the best option had already been completed in the Fall). I sourced a few ideas from Rotary’s website for Sarah’s consideration. We told her that our committee would work within whatever guidelines were needed in order to achieve the purpose of the module—no length requirements. Students were not required to submit their assignments to the contest but 15 did. All 8 members of the committee read the 15 essays and submitted their selections for first, second and third place. In parallel with the Four Way Test essay contest, we are awarding $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place. As the Peacebuilders Committee has no budget, Cynthia has provided the prize money from the Youth Services budget. Sarah explained that, as seniors during the pandemic, it has been a challenge to make sure they have all the things that they need and that are necessary as they move into the exciting next stage of life. The inquiry unit is about the best way to question, the best way to research and the best way to think critically about the bigger issues we have in the world, one of them being what is peace and what does peace mean to you. 

3rd Place: Diego Hernandez 

2nd Place: Viviana Nuñez 

1st Place: Jonathan Jewell