By ALEXIS BARTOLOMUCCI
The Austintown Kiwanis Club announced the winners of the second annual Sixth-Grade Essay Contest on March 15 at Austintown Middle School.
Sixth-grade students were asked to write an essay answering the question “If you had $50 to give to the local charity of your choice, which one would you choose to donate to and why?” There were 251 essays that covered 55 different charities the sixth-grade students at Austintown Middle School wrote about. The essay was optional for the students, but more than half of the sixth grade participated in it.
The essay contest was sponsored by the Austintown Kiwanis Club and the Associated School Employees Credit Union (ASECU).
“It’s part of their standards, so we wanted to line it up with a grade level where their standards have them do research and write a report on that research,” said Austintown Kiwanis President Mariel Sallee.
The six students were chosen by a committee consisting of Kiwanis and Austintown Fitch Key Club members. The students had about four weeks to research and write their essays then about another four weeks for the essays to be graded.
After the essays were graded and the winners were chosen, Sallee walked to each classroom and had all of the students who wrote an essay raise their hand. He then would tell the students someone in their class is a winner and when the name was announced, the whole class clapped and cheered for that student.
“I was excited that I was going to help the charity out,” said one winner, Johnny Ruggles, who wrote about the Youngstown Lions Club.
None of the students knew they would receive $50 to give to the charity they wrote about. They were surprised, but excited, to have the opportunity to give a representative from their charity a check for $50.
Representatives from the six different charities attended the assembly to meet with the students who wrote about their charity. Some of the representatives who came awarded the students with a certification or something else to show their appreciation for the essay. One student, Devin, who wrote about St. Vincent De Paul, received a President’s Award and t-shirt from Tom Williams, Mahoning County President of St. Vincent De Paul.
The winning charities were Youngstown Lions Club, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, Lifebanc, Hospice of the Valley, St. Vincent De Paul and the American Heart Association.
The winning students were awarded with a goodie bag provided by ASECU which contained a ticket to the Austintown Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast, a $25 gift card and other items. There were also 30 students chosen at random at the end of the assembly that received a gift card for $5 for their essays.
“The Kiwanis Club will continue to do this and I’m sure that AMS is proud to host the event and provide us with the students that will write the essays,” said Sallee.