S.D. 4-H announces Foundations for Life essay contest winners

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Farm Forum

BROOKINGS — South Dakota 4-H along with the South Dakota 4-H Foundation announced the winners of the 2014 Foundations For Life essay contest.

A total of 85 students took part in the state contest that encouraged young people to choose a maxim from a predetermined list and write an essay that shows how the maxim fits into their lives. The contest promotes reading, critical thinking and composition skills as young people write about the importance of having good character.

In each grade level, the top five individuals ranking an excellent rating will be awarded a monetary prize: first place received $300; second place received $200; third place received $100; fourth place received $50 and fifth place received $50. In the spirit of being caring and charitable each winner will give one-half of their monetary prize to their favorite charity.

The winners from fourth, seventh and ninth-grade classes around South Dakota included the following youth:

Fourth graders

First place, Ashley Nelson, of Alcester;

Second place, Elleana Holley, of Fort Pierre;

Third place, Megan Long, of Waverly;

Fourth place, Matea Gordon, of White Wood; and

Fifth place, Peyton Gengler, of Milbank.

Seventh graders

First place, Jacob Johnson of Brookings;

Second place, Audrey Harms of Brookings;

Third place, Luc Bouchard of Brookings;

Fourth place, Hannah Linde of Brookings; and

Fifth place, Mackenzie Kelly of Brookings.

Ninth graders

First place, Noah Wicks of Rutland;

Second place, Kaden Leddy of Stockholm;

Third place, Tori Gaer of Newell;

Fourth place, Skylar Gatamaker of Newell; and

Fifth place, Michael Johnson of Madison.

The students choose from a range of maxims such as “What is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular,” and “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is not a path and leave a trail.”

“The project challenged schools to participate in the statewide Foundations for Life essay contest is another way to teach character education to their students,” said Karelyn Farrand, 4-H Youth Character Education Field Specialist.

Across South Dakota, 408 student writers participated in local competitions.

Participating teachers had this to say about the essay contest:

Marissa Kleinhans, seventh grade teacher from Alcester-Hudson shared – “My students really responded to this essay, the activities we did, ranging from posters to skits, really made them examine their surroundings and beliefs. They did other CHARACTER COUNTS! [activities] all through elementary so this was a great way to reinforce those lessons as they face the tough choices of Junior High.”

Sara Carpenter, fourth grade teacher, Waverly-South Shore School – “Participating in the FFL contest has impacted my students in a positive way. Many great conversations were sparked from discussing the maxims. This contest gives kids a voice. They all feel proud when their essays are finished.”

CHARACTER COUNTS! is a trademark of the CC! Coalition, a project of the Josephson Institute of Ethics. It operates in South Dakota under the leadership of the 4-H Youth Development program of the South Dakota State University Extension Service.

To learn more, contact Karelyn Farrand, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Character Education Field Specialist at Karelyn.Farrand@sdstate.edu or 605-626-2870.