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Middle school students share their Laws of Life

Over the past 22 years, more than 3,500 eighth grade students at Medford Area Middle School (MAMS) have participated in a “Laws of Life” essay contest sponsored by the school district and the Medford Kiwanis Club.

The contest is designed to make students think about principles they would like to live by or “Laws of Life.” It features essays written for English classes.

Teachers help students think through what might be important principles in their lives and how they might explain that principle. The essays are submitted as a classroom assignment. The teachers then do a preliminary judging of the essays, recommending 30 finalists. A panel of Kiwanis members reads through all the finalists and then meets to decide on the winners. They are divided by participation, merit, honorable mention and top place winner groups.

Middle school counselor Jackie Strick coordinates the contest. MAMS principal Al Leonard said that after last year’s awards ceremony had to be canceled due to COVID-19, it was great to be able to see families in the school again this year.

Cash awards will be given out to finalists. All the finalists received a $10 Chamber of Commerce gift certifi cate. The awards are funded by Taylor Credit Union, Huotari Construction, The Star News, Prevail Bank, Century 21 Dairyland Realty North and Jensen, Scott, Grunewald and Shiffler S.C.

Beyond the chance for winning prize money the contest shows that young people are listening and paying attention, even if they sometimes appear not to be.

Winners in the essay contest receive savings accounts as well as chamber gift certificates. First through fifth place winners receive a certificate, $10 chamber gift certifi cate and savings accounts. They were First place Lilly Holmes, “Quality Time Matters” $250; Second place Amelia Pernsteiner, “Granny’s Life” $200; Third place Zachary Hintz “Not an Easy Life” $150; Fourth place Ella Dassow, “Grateful in the Grieving” $125; and Fifth place Jason Woller, “The Comeback Game” $100.

The winning essays are as follows: