Local fifth graders write about patriotism
By Ryan Horton
The East Oklahoma County Rotary Satellite Club recently launched a new service project calling for essay entries from local fifth graders.
Designed to encourage writing and critical thinking skills, the inaugural contest was themed “What does patriotism mean in America today?”
East Oklahoma County Rotary Satellite Club members judged over 40 entries on clarity of writing and coherence of critical thinking skills.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner
Xavier Barnes, of Choctaw Elementary, was selected as the winner.
“Patriotism is defined by the dictionary as ‘love for or devotion to one’s country’. But to me, it means so much more. Patriotism means supporting our country in good times or bad; to never lose faith in our country; flying the flag to show respect and devotion to our country; and honoring those who have served in the defense of this nation, both living and dead, retired or active,” wrote Barnes.
Judges applauded the effort demonstrated in all entries, but noted Barnes expressed critical thinking skills deserving of top honors.
“Patriotism means supporting and loving our country even when it’s going through rough or difficult times,” Barnes wrote. “Patriotism does not mean that our country is perfect, but means that we strive to be the best we can.”
Comtec Security funded the essay contest providing prizes for both Barnes, his class and school.
Choctaw Elementary received a $200 donation, while Barnes secured a $25 gift card for Jim’s Famous Chicken and a pizza party for his class.
This was the pilot year for the essay contest, but club members hope to expand the program in coming years.
“We just opened it up to Choctaw-Nicoma Park fifth grade students this year, because we were limited on time and trying something new,” said EOC Rotary Satellite Club Essay Contest committee member Angi Lay. “We hope to expand the program to the other school districts we serve in the future.”
In addition to Choctaw-Nicoma Park, EOC Rotary serves the areas of Harrah, Jones and Luther.
The club supports many local and international efforts and has been dedicated to improving literacy in eastern Oklahoma County for decades. Some related annual club efforts include providing Pre-K reading books to local students, awarding scholarships to local seniors, honoring local winners of the District Teacher of the Year Award and providing dictionaries to every third grader in Choctaw-Nicoma Park, Harrah, Jones and Luther schools.
EOC Rotarians gather every Thursday at the Country Club at Choctaw Creek, 2200 N Hiwassee Rd., with both noon and 7 p.m. meetings.
For more information visit EOC Rotary Club