The mission of the Paragon Optimist Club is to provide hope and a positive vision for the youth, and to improve our community as a whole. One way our Club accomplishes this is holding a fourth grade essay contest in local schools.
Essay writing is a core element that is developed during the fourth grade. Every school is given topics and a deadline. The students are educated by the teachers on how to construct a paragraph. The teachers also provide guidance on how to support a topic. After the deadline, all essays are judged, and two winning essays are selected from each school.
There were thirteen participating schools with 1,023 student essays submitted!
This year the students had the choice of “Don’t judge me, because…. ,” “I’d like to invent a machine that… ,” or “My hero is…”
While helping judge the essays it was very difficult to pick winners. The authors wrote from the heart. These authors, these kids wrote about the environment, special needs, other current topics, and some that I never thought a 9/10 year old would be concerned about. When the winning essays were read aloud at the club meeting, there were tears, laughter and empathy expressed. Below is a quick list of various subjects the students chose to write about:
Do not judge me, because…
I’m not a ‘girlie’ girl, but enjoy sports and/or being a tomboy
Because I work hard on schoolwork, or I’m a nerd, or I’m honest and persistent in solving issues
I sit alone so I don’t have to hear the unkind words spoken to me
My father left and we were homeless, but now things are better. We do not buy many new things because we’re saving money for grandfather’s surgery
My physical limitation, my autism, my english as a second language, or that I’m just different
Have any of you had the same experiences? Are these the issues that lead to school fights or shootings we’ve heard about?
I’d like to invent a machine that…
Would help other people
Would help the homeless
Helped people with Down Syndrome
Get the world with more air and renewable resources, a machine that helped trees grow would be invented
Would take me back in time to meet presidents, Martin Luther King Jr., and my great-grandparents
Allowed less items will go in the landfill by reusing/changing those items into water and food for Africa and other counties. The machine would be called the “reuseanator machine.”
Killed bugs, or reading minds, or shrinking people, or cancer cures, or creates friends and removes negativity from your DNA
These ideas were very creative. Their awareness of issues to improve this world is awesome. It is nice to hear about the good in our future leaders.
My hero is…
Jesus because no one believed Jesus except for the eleven disciples and had to fight for his life for a long time
The astronaut Sally Ride. She is an inspiration to little girls and women to follow their dreams
My father, he is a police officer and has saved a person. He spends time with helping with homework and lots more. He shows how to help and love other people
My foster mother who takes care of them and their other siblings. The birth mother was on drugs and died and dad is in jail. Because of the foster mom the family gets fed, helped with homework and various other things
In looking at these young authors, they notice what is going on around them. They see the good role models they have. They have good examples to guide them through life.
The students had a chance to practice what they were taught. They had lots of wonderful ideas. They should be very proud of what they achieved. The parents and teachers of all the students who enter should be proud as well. Good job everyone! The Paragon Optimist Club is happy and honored to enable these students to express their thoughts through our essay contest.