DayBreak club picks top three contestants

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JOHN SCHRAG - Rotarian Pat Truax (left) posed with Claire Hansen,  Shayna Olsen and Victoria Rockey and their family members after the three students read their winning essays to the Daybreak Rotary Club on Tuesday morning. DayBreak Rotary celebrated the 2014 winners of its “4-Way Test Writing Contest” Tuesday morning. Open to all fifth- and sixth-grade students in the Forest Grove School District, this year’s 35 entries from Tom McCall Upper Elementary School were judged by members of the Forest Grove Police Department, who applied a set of criteria provided by the club’s district office.

Essayists wrote about applying Rotary’s 4-Way Test — Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? — to hone conflict-resolution skills in their daily lives.

Prizes were $200, $100 and $50 gift certificates to Fred Meyer, said Mayor Pete Truax, a member of the club. Here are the winning essays:

Victoria Rockey (fifth grade)

Sometimes being a kid is difficult, because sometimes I have to make difficult choices like being in the popular crowd or standing up for my brother.

My brother and I fight a lot about different things. Of course siblings have rivalries, but this time I put our disagreements to the past.

One day I was riding my bus home when suddenly my brother said something out loud he had not meant. Then out of the blue the popular kids started to make fun of him. He was defenseless. I knew that he was my brother and I needed to stand up for him.

I had to do the right thing so I did just that. The popular kids started to throw out mean things trying to get kids to join in, but I stopped them. I knew it was the right thing.

Once the popular kids figured out about what I was doing they started to say mean things to me. I persuaded them to stop. After a little bit they gave up and slumped down into their seats, looking bummed that they didn’t hurt my feelings and I was happy they hadn’t.

When I got home I told my mom. She was very proud of me. I was also proud of myself.

Before, when my dad was alive he told my brother to protect me and me to protect my brother. By doing this I knew I was doing a good thing and listening to what he said.

Having to go against the popular kids was tough because they normally would win by being rude, I couldn’t let that happen this time.

The kids on my bus are considered one of the most popular and I have always wanted to be one of them because I have always wanted to be looked up to.

During this I could have made fun of my brother but I didn’t.

Standing up and protecting my brother was the right thing to do because that is what families are for. Also because I love my brother and I always will.

The next time something like this happens I will also stand up for anyone in need. Maybe after doing these things and making the right choices maybe the people who I helped might help me when I am in need. Just maybe.

Claire Hansen (sixth grade)

The word service is a word that holds meaning in each letter. One of the best ways to do service is selflessly. When you’re serving, you just need to focus on the work and not your problems in the world.

The first important letter is ‘S’ for struggle. The person being served may be having a struggle and is unable to help themselves. It may be a struggle for you to help. Sometimes, working is just hard. Helping people who are struggling helps you become a better person and helps them too.

The first ‘E’ stands for enthusiasm. I know that when I’m enthusiastic about serving it makes me work harder and have an improved experience. When I do things for other people, it makes me happy and is good for them. Service with smiles makes service actually service.

‘R’ is for remember. Remember that you are doing service to help others! Think about how this act will affect the person you’re helping and will they remember your kindness. And remember while you’re working ... “Service before self!”

‘V’ is for victorious, the feeling you get when you’re done. You have carried someone else’s burdens and been very kind to someone in need. Victory is the satisfaction that what you did was a great thing.

‘I’ is for interaction with others, building relationships and friendships. I love to make new friends and work with others. When you are combining efforts and talking and laughing while working, it’s fun. You get the work done faster and easier when you’re working with your friends.

If you’re struggling with the work, ‘C’ means center. Think about why it is you’re working and where you should be focused. Keep your attention where it needs to be. Thinking about the good feelings and blessings service will bring to the people participating. While you’re working, focus on the thing at hand.

Finally, ‘E’ is for effort. How hard are you working and trying? Don’t make your effort meaningless, just work hard for someone in need. Try until you’ve done the best that you can do for this person.

Altruistic behavior is a character trait we should all have. It shows people our work ethic, helps others, and can build strong friendships. Service can make you happy because you’re helping someone in need which helps you realize how much you have in your life.

Shayna Olsen (sixth grade)

To serve above yourself means to put forth the needs of others before your own, where you help someone else to their satisfaction and ask nothing in return but the joy of making them happy. This is used throughout life as a positive skill; especially because people of this century tend to be lazy, even when they need to complete their own needs. So putting some one else’s needs in front of yours is very loyal and appreciative.

This skill is one of many ways to keep your family close. Because you always got to look out for them, family has an important impact on your life that you will need. It’s your duty to be there for them, like they have or will be for you when you need them. Even if you have annoying little siblings or bossy older siblings, remember that one day you will more likely be friends if you treat them like a friend and help them out.

You shouldn’t just put your family needs before your own, but your friends’ too. They’re your friends, they’re there for you, and so you should always be there for them. Put them before yourself, like a real friend and help them out. Show that you care about them and their needs, and show that you want them to be happy too.

Especially at school, school is like your job. If you’re very disrespectful towards everyone else then you get fired or kicked out. This skill can help you do better in school socially, and gain more friends. But remember when you serve others above yourself don’t ask for anything in return. Otherwise you’ll just be doing a favor for someone who would now owe you a favor.

That’s what makes “serving others above yourself” an important life skill. It will help you connect with your family, create a closer bond with friends, and make new friends. If you always put others before you, then you’ll always be improving your personality to improve your character.

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