Four Way Test Essay Contest Winners (more Essays added 4/24/14)

On Thursday, April 10, the Rotary Club of Spruce Pine honored the winners of the Four Way Test Essay Contest. Marvin Walker, chairman of the Four Way Test Essay Contest, noted that the Four Way Test has been a part of Rotary since the 1940s and Spruce Pine Rotary has sponsored this contest for Mitchell County seventh graders for the past ten years. Marvin stated that narrowing the field of one hundred-two essays to five was a daunting task. The First Place winner is Santana Sparks, who receives a check for $200. She attends Harris Middle School and her teacher is Stephanie Warren. The Second Place winner is Julia Verkade, who receives a check for $100. She attends Bowman Middle School and her teacher is Donna Hickman. The Third Place winner is Rylie Mayo, who receives a check for $50. She attends Bowman Middle School and her teacher is also Donna Hickman. Honorable Mention goes to Hannah Hollifield and Nicole Whitson and each receives a check for $25. Both girls attend Harris Middle School where Hannah’s teacher is Tamara Houchard and Nicole’s teacher is Stephanie Warren. Each student read her essay and related how the questions of the Four Way Test could impact their lives. Some of the issues reflected in the essays were decision making, bullying, poverty, peer pressure, and sexism. The essays showed a diversity of thought and approach. Club President, Janie DeVos, congratulated the students on the caliber of their writing and noted that perhaps their ideas could be turned into action. Spruce Pine Rotary is proud of these students and commend them on the content and quality of their essays. BRAVO!


     The “Four Way Rotary Test” is a good thing because you apply the four questions to your life.  The four questions are: is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, will it build goodwill and better friendships, and will it be beneficial to all concerned? The four questions supports good decisions.
     Is it the truth? Telling the truth is very important.  Trust builds lasting friendships. I have learned who I can trust and who I can’t. Once I told a friend a secret and they promised to keep it.  This friend went and told someone else.  I was sad and angry.  I felt betrayed because they lied and were no longer trustworthy.  It is nice to have people in your life to trust and share secrets with. It is also good to be trustworthy.  If someone tells you something private, you should not tell unless someone is in danger.  If you tell, it can be very embarrassing and hurtful to the other person.  This is one reason why people get bullied, because someone tells a secret of spreads a lie.  Bullying can get so bad that the person will hurt or kill themselves.  This is why it is always important to ask, “is it the truth?”
     Is it fair to all concerned? It is always good to treat others the way you would like to be treated.  Nobody wants to be treated differently because of where they live, how they dress, or how they look.  Everyone was created equally, and we all have feelings.  Even though some  people try to pretend they don’t care, it hurts to be treated unfairly.  There are all types of people in the world; but in God’s eyes we are all the same.  This is why it is always important to ask, “is it fair to all concerned?”
     Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Building better friendships not only involves being truthful and fair, but being available.  Sometimes, people just need someone to talk to, laugh with, and be supportive.  Being supportive might be as simple as carrying their books or going to their ball game of dance recital.  Everyone wants to feel like someone cares a bout them.  This is why it is important to ask yourself, “will it build goodwill and better friendships?”
     Will it be beneficial to all concerned?  We should ask ourselves if our actions and words are favorable or hurtful?  It is okay to work hard to improve ourselves as long as we don’t hurt others in the process. Bullies will sometimes put others down to make themselves look better and to get attention.  This is why it is important to ask, “will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
     If everyone would just stop and ask themselves each of these questions, the world would be a better place.  Is it true, is it fair, will it build goodwill and is it beneficial should be questions to live by.
By Samantha Sparks
Harris Middle School
Teacher: Stephanie Warren

Second Place
Julia Verkade
Bowman Middle School
“Treat others the way you want to be treated, that’s the golden rule, and it should be followed in every aspect of your life.” Bullying has affected many kids, and it can affect kids in many different ways; they can suffer mental anguish, anxiety, depression, even self-harm. Yes, it is truthful because bullying happens wherever you go, school, the park, even home. A kid’s self esteem can go down due to bullying. Bullying happens everyday, because of being bullied, “...suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers in the US, 44% of suicides occur in the ages between 10-14.”  It can happen one on one, or even ganging up on a kid. Fifty per cent of all children in one study have admitted to being bullied at some point in their life; and 10% are victims of bullying on a regular basis.
No, it’s not fair to all concerned because the people who are getting bullied feel like no one will stick up for them. They are even afraid to tell the bully to stop, or tell an adult. And its also not fair to the friends on both sides because they are getting dragged into the middle of the drama.
Having Bullying Assemblies will build Goodwill and better Friendships, because I remember when I attended Greenlee Elementary School, they had a bullying assembly every school year. I have attended Bowman Middle School for 2 years, and I have attended zero bullying assemblies.
I feel that it would be very beneficial to people at Bowman Middle School to talk with students about being bullied, and let the students know that kids who bully other kids will be reprimanded if they tell an adult. It will be beneficial to all concerned because students won’t have to have the fear of being bullied. Teachers and Parents can have rest without having a feeling, “Is my child or student being bullied?” Bullying should not be tolerated. Words hurt, you can not erase them from your mind. All should be taught to THINK before they speak, and before they speak they must consider what it means to be ...
T- Thoughtful
H- Helpful
I - Insightful
N- Nice
K- Knowledgeable
If they answer” no” to any of these questions, then they should not speak at all.
Resources Used: college/article/331645/Bullying-in-School/
Teacher: Donna Hickman
Third Place
Rylie Mayo
Bowman Middle School
Poverty Levels in North Carolina
About 15% of the people living in North Carolina are falling below the current poverty standards. That is saying that the people living in poverty can’t afford the proper care they need for their children and for themselves. They can not provide their kids with the education they need to become successful in our modem day economy. This record shows that 1 in every 6 people in North Carolina are living in poverty.
This is the truth ... that almost in every school there are kids whose parents can’t afford the school supplies they need to make it through their school year. Kids struggle with their academics because their parents can’t get them the things they need. These kids need winter coats so they can stay warm through the bad winters we have. These problems in our county and schools hold the other students back, because if one student doesn’t have the proper school supplies they are required to have, we will have to wait until they are provided those supplies.
I do think is it fair to all concerned, to think of even more ways to help with all the kids who need it and help the parents out too. Almost half of the kids who struggle in their grade school career don’t get a full college education. These kids can’t help if their parents don’t have the money to support their school education. They miss out on the opportunities that they need to become successful in life. They deserve as much as all the other kids in Mitchell County, to have a good education. They need the privilege to have all the things the other kids have. These kids need help being cared for, they need support to do what they are expected to do in school; but how can they do it without the proper materials?
I believe that it would build a great friendship if someone would help a student get through their school year. What I would like to do for our community is start a program called “Guardian Angels.” This program would be about helping a student in need, to get them school supplies, and shoes, and even winter jackets. You would pick a student you would like to help and sponsor them through the school year. If this program became possible it would help a lot of kids in our school systems. I (myself) see this everyday at Bowman Middle SchooL where students struggle to get supplies for their everyday needs.
It would be beneficial to all concerned, because the students that need help would get it and their parents would have an easier time getting around. It would even help the teachers because they won’t have to worry about their students getting their own supplies and focus more on teaching them what they need to learn. This program would help a lot of students, teachers, parents, and classmates. Kids who struggle to just ask to borrow a piece of paper, a pencil, or even a calculator; could fmd it comforting to know that someone is looking out for them, and helping them through hard times. It would help them so much to know that they are not alone, that they have someone there for them.
Teacher: Donna Hickman
Honorable Mention
Hannah Hollifield
Harris Middle School
Sexism and Gender Equality in the World Today
My essay is about how sexism is still a huge problem in the world today. A definition of sexism is:  Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of their gender. I chose this topic because I believe strongly that all women and men were created equal and should not be treated differently.
Would it be beneficial to all concerned? Yes, because it will create peace and less conflict. Men and women will no longer disagree over which gender is superior. Also, it would be beneficial if they earn the same amount of money in their occupation. Women actually earn twenty percent less than men. To me, there is no difference, as long as they do their job.
Will it build goodwill and friendships? If men and women have been raised to believe they are equal, then in the workplace they would see each other as equals. Maybe men would not see women as inferior. It would build better friendships if, when a woman has a man as a boss, she would not have to prove that her work is the same quality as a man’s. Having gender equality would bring out the best in people.
Is it fair? Obviously sexism is NOT fair. Is it fair that women are constantly insulted by men who believe they are better than them? No it’s not. Typically, women are the target. But this happens to men on occasions too. Would it be fair for both genders to promote gender equality? It may seem like a difficult question, (or not) but really it’s simple. OF course it would be fair. The outcome would benefit both genders.
Is it truth? The truth of the matter is, sexism is not fair. Although much progress has been made, still lots of gender discrimination is portrayed in thousands of women and men’s lives. Women continue to be given fewer leadership roles. Women are paid less. Men have to pay more for insurance. All of the above are just some ways sexism still exists in our everyday lives.
The four way test has given me, and many other seventh-graders, an opportunity to express our opinions on a matter we feel is important. For me, it’s gender equality. Why should women be treated differently than men? Women are strong human beings, and we can do anything we set our minds to. We are strong, smart, and bold. And we should be treated equally.
Teacher: Tamara Houchard
Honorable Mention
Nicole Whitson
Harris Middle School
As a teenager we are faced with some decisions that will impact om lives forever, and with the Rotary Four Way essay philosophy can be on om side. If you ask me, teenagers today may have a harder life than their parents did. Between peer pressure from kids their age, older, or even younger may make a big impact on peoples lives in a good way or in a bad way. I would say in middle school all you ever hear about is some kind of drama or something is going around the school about something that is not true or didn’t even happen. The Rotary Four Way Test is a really cool foundation for everyone. Think about these questions every day of your life: Is this the truth? Will this benefit anyone? Will it create better friendships and good will? Is it fair to all concerned?
Is this the truth? Every day someone will most likely tell you something that is not true and will hurt someone. But do the people spreading these rumors really know how bad this hurts? Most likely not until someone spreads something around about them But how often do rumors and false statements really get spread around? Probably more than you think. There are some people on this world that just say anything they can to hurt someone that hurt them But some kids probably say stuff just so there will be more drama in the school year. But is this really necessary?
Will this benefit everyone? Some people are extremely selfish, and care only about themselves. Whenever the next time is that you need to choose what to do, think about the effects it could have on someone else. Just because that one decision will work out fine for you does not mean it will work out with someone else. So think before you do!
Will it create better friendships and good will? Life does not ever really get to a point where you can just sit down and stop going on with life. We just cannot just put life on hold, we have to live life to the fullest! How about this, try to think what the outcome of that action would be. Every action has a reaction. Someone who might be sitting by themselves or might not have a friend would probably enjoy someone walking up to them, being nice, and sitting with them.
Is it fair to all concerned? Everyone has the potential to get an equal opportunity as everyone else in the world does. Everyone needs to stand up and speak up for those who get made fun of or bullied. Every day of your life something needs to pop in your head and say “Is this really fair to all concerned”?
These four decisions will impact your life forever and so that is why you should think about the Rotary Four Way essay every day of your life. As well as you should always think about this “Is this the truth?” “Will this benefit everyone?” “Will it create better friendships and good will?” “Is it fair to all concerned?”
Teacher: Stephanie Warren

Pictured are: Nichole Whitson, Honorable Mention; Santana Sparks, First Place; Rylie Mayo, Third Place; Julia Verkade, Second Place; Hannah Hollifield,Honorable Mention. Photo by Rotarian Carole Arthurs


A   A   A