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Middle school students share their Laws of Life

Over the past 20 years, more than 3,400 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. This year due to the COVID-19 school closure a formal awards ceremony was not held. Winners were announced during the awards assembly held online on Friday, May 22.

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 certificate and savings accounts. They were First place Vanessa Herrada, “Taking Care of All of Me” $250; Second place Morgan Brandl, “ Have Faith in Yourself” $200; Third place Meadow Beyer, “My Forever Family” $150; Fourth place Tatum Ziembo, “Choose Good” $125; and Fifth place Nicole Poetzel, “Dyslexia Doesn’t Mean You’re Dumb” $100.

The winning essays are as follows: