St. George Rotary Club honors the sixth-grade winners of its annual essay contest

Sixth-grader Mary Crosby reads from her award-winning essay at a rotary club meeting, St. George, Utah, May 3, 2021 | Courtesy of Kenneth Sizemore, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Three Washington County sixth graders took home the top prizes awarded in an essay contest sponsored by the St. George Rotary Club.

Mary Crosby and Gavin Farr from Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School and Emmet Riding  of Tonaquint Intermediate School were the winners in the annual Four-Way Test Essay Contest sponsored by the service organization.

Becky Allred (left) receives was awarded a $200 grant for classroom materials from Kenneth Sizemore, a member of the Rotary Club board, St. George, Utah, May 3, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Kenneth Sizemore, St. George News

Kenneth Sizemore, a member of the St. George Rotary Club board, was the chair of the essay contest. He was in charge of contacting teachers, gathering essay submissions from participating classrooms and organizing the judging.

“We are always impressed with their maturity and their ability to communicate the precepts of the Four-Way Test,” Sizemore said. “For sixth graders, we’re always astounded at how well they understand those concepts and can put them down in an essay that typically far exceeds their grade level.”

Award winners were selected from a pool of about 75 submissions, with winners selected by school. 

In the essay contest, students were invited to write about a person they knew that embodied the principles of the Rotary Club’s central code of ethics: the Four-Way Test. The Four-Way Test, which is recited at the beginning of every Rotary Club meeting, invites adherents to consider whether their thoughts, words and actions are truthful, fair, friendly and beneficial to all.

Language Arts teacher Becky Allred of Sunrise Ridge Intermediate school poses with her students at the award ceremony for the essay contest, St. George, Utah, May 3, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Kenneth Sizemore, St. George News

Crosby’s first-place essay was about her best friend, and Crosby was able to bring her along to the awards luncheon.

“She helps me out when I really need it,” Crosby said. “She is always making me smile, and she’s an example of trust, fairness and friendship.”

For his essay submission, Riding chose to highlight his grandfather.

“My grandpa always says, ‘What we think about we bring about,’” Riding wrote. “Being kind, hardworking and good to others are qualities I hope I can inherit from my grandpa. The relationship he has built with me has made an impact on my life forever.”

Crosby, Riding and Farr were all invited to attend an awards ceremony held during the Rotary Club’s weekly meeting earlier this month.

“Luckily, the COVID (-19) restrictions loosened up enough that we were able to host the winners, along with their parents and teachers, at one of our club meetings,” Sizemore said. “We actually had each of the three winners stand up and read their essays to us, and then we handed a check and a certificate to each of the winners and the teacher.”

Sixth-grader Emmet Riding stands for a photo beside his language arts teacher, Cara Whitehead of Tonaquint Intermediate School, St. George, Utah, May 3, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Kenneth Sizemore, St. George News

Crosby and Riding each won a $50 check, and Farr was rewarded with a $25 check. In addition, Crosby and Farr’s sixth-grade language arts teacher, Becky Allred, was awarded for the exceptional participation of her students – with 63 of the 90 students she teaches submitting essays.

Allred won a $200 grant through the Washington County School District Foundation to purchase literacy resources for her classroom.

Allred’s colleague at Sunrise Ridge, Liz McBride, also had students submit essays. Riding’s teacher, Cara Whitehead, accompanied him to the awards ceremony.

The Four-Way Test Essay Contest is an annual event organized by the St. George Rotary Club. Sizemore said the contest chair will contact teachers to introduce the voluntary contest in January. Submissions are due by March, and then Rotary Club members review the essays and rank them on a scale of one to five.

Essay scores are then totaled by the contest chair, and winning students are invited to the awards luncheon in the beginning of May.

The St. George Rotary Club is one of seven Rotary organizations in Washington County. It was first chartered in January 1931. More information about the St. George Rotary Club is available online.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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