Cedar Springs Rotary Club
"Service above Self"

Rotary 4-Way Test
Essay Contest

By Tom Noreen
Each year, as part of Rotary Internationals effort to improve literacy, the Cedar Springs Club conducts a 4-Way Test essay competition with the 5th grade classes in Cedar Springs Public Schools and the Creative Technologies Academy. Students are asked to write on one aspect of Rotary’s 4-Way Test:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Is it beneficial to all concerned?
Essay Chair Donna Clark said, “Club members visited all the 5th graders and tried to inspire the students with ideas of how to write a story that would be compelling and touch our hearts…something real, something that impacted them that they could relay with feeling.”
Teachers selected the two best essays from their class and forwarded them to the committee consisting of Donna, Carolyn Davis, Darla Falcon, and Bea Hesley.
Donna added, “We had twelve diverse and interesting essays to read, evaluate and choose from.  We looked at the writing as a whole with special interest in a clear outcome, such as the lesson learned or character revealed.  The essays were phenomenal this year!  We had so much trouble narrowing it down to just 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners that we decided not to!  We were a bit extravagant and allowed ourselves to choose two for each place!”
First place winners were Addison Jones and Evan Mattson. Otto Pigorsh and Sophia Whitten were awarded second place and Caleb Cristie and Nolan Papke were third place winners. Each student read his or her essay. Each student received a certificate, a Rotary 4-Way Test coin, and a monetary award.
The Rotary Club would like to thank Mrs. Joan Boverhof. She has been our contact person for the essay writing partnership between our Rotary and Cedar View for 10 years! She is retiring at the end of this year.
The two first place essays are printed below.
What a Community
By Addison Jones
This past year the community of Cedar Springs (where I live) was in desperate need of prayer. Brison Ricker and Emma Orr were fighting for their lives, the community knew they had to fight, too! But I wasn't quite understanding what was happening. Until one of my own classmates, teammates, and friend was hit by a car, Cora. Not only did I feel the true pain of what it was like to lose someone fairly close, but to also feel what it was like to be in a community that cares about others, and no matter what. They are there for you. Through tough times, and through good times. The weeks following Cora's accident people that I barely knew came up to me and asked how I was doing! I saw my own teacher wiping tears that fell rapidly from our faces to our chin. My heart softened as the sound of singing voices filled my ears, our community sang to Brison as he suffered through his last few days. Our community stood strong together! I now know how important our community is, this definitely changed the way I see the world. What a community!
Rotary Essay
By Evan Mattson
In Rotary there is four way test. Whenever I hear the four way test I think of my friend Cora Gonzalez. She pursued all four, she was truthful and never lied about anything. She also was really kind by always making me laugh even when my day was miserable. Another thing she did was she would include others in what she had to say. Most importantly Cora was brave, she took risks and passed boundaries and went through scary situations. She was an amazing girl and I want to share how she impacted my teacher and my 5th grade classmates.
I was walking into school feeling very, very sad. My friend Cora had passed away the night before. I got into school early that day; I was doing a school fundraiser. As soon as I walk in the building I saw my classmates all crying with my teacher. I slowly and silently walked inside the classroom, acting as if I had no idea what was going on. My teacher slowly turned her head; tears filled her face like the rest of my classmates. First thing my teacher did was to hug me and hold me tight. It made me feel happy and glad that someone was there for me even outside of my home. She then let me cry in her arms while everybody else cried with their friends. She was there for me; it made me develop a better connection with my teacher. It warmed my heart that my teacher cared for me, and made me feel so loved.
Every day I miss Cora and the impact she made on this world. But I am very grateful for how Mrs.Kahler is continuing Cora's legacy every day. Mrs. Kahler shows us how to make better friendships and connections. Mrs. Kahler makes us smile even in dark times. But most importantly, Mrs. Kahler brought our class together during a time of sadness. What I mean by that is, Mrs.Kahler made our class more of a family and we cared for each other and now we're the best of friends. Even with Cora gone, we are so blessed to have Mrs. Kahler who is and has been a great role model for our classroom and for so many others.

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