by Teri Vance
Derek Rowley said he read his fifth-grade son’s assigned essay last month and thought it was good. He didn’t realize until Tuesday that the essay was part of a contest and his son, Glen, of Fritsch Elementary won first place.
“I was excited,” Derek Rowley said.
Glen Rowley was one of three Carson City fifth-graders honored Wednesday in a luncheon ceremony at the Ormsby House for essays submitted to the Sertoma Club’s American Heritage Contest
Bethany Perez, 11, from Fritsch Elementary won second place and Raylene Kennison, 11, of Mark Twain Elementary took third. All winners received name-engraved plaques and savings bonds. First place was a $200 savings bond, second place $100 and third place $50.
All wrote on the assigned theme, “I am an American.”
Rowley was assigned to write the essay by his teacher, Karen Scott. “I wanted to see what they could do with it,” Scott said.
She said she was pleased with Rowley’s submission.
“I thought it was great,” she said. “He’s a very talented writer.”
Rowley’s mother, Genine Rowley, said she screamed when she heard that he had won.
“He loves to write,” she said. “When he’s awarded for his efforts, I get really excited.”
Rowley said he enjoyed writing the essay.
“I really like writing and I like U.S. history,” he said. “I got part of it from the Bill of Rights.”
Don Campbell, Sertoma Club secretary, said the club sponsors the contest for fifth-grade students every year to promote patriotism in the youth.
“We want to promote a little better understanding of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” Campbell said. “Hopefully, we can make a little better people of them in what we think is an impressionable time in their lives.”
Kennison also participated in the contest as part of a class assignment by her teacher, Maxine Emm.
“I like to participate in things that are patriotic that help them understand what it means to be a part of this country,” Emm said.
Kennison said she gained a greater appreciation for freedom while writing the essay.
“You don’t have to listen to someone telling you what to do and how to do it,” she said.
Kennison’s mother, Joy Kennison, said she thought the essay will be relevant to the future.
“School is important to her, she wants to go to college,” Joy Kennison said. “I think a big step in that is understanding the freedoms we have and loving her country.”
Campbell said that the annual essays submitted are all well-written.
“It’s very difficult to decide who should be the first three places,” he said.
Program Coordinator Joe DiLonardo said the club uses the contest to reach the youth of the community.
“We try to get the youth involved,” DiLonardo said. “That’s so important.”
Perez said she entered the contest because she likes to write and enjoys the privileges of freedom.