A Madison-Plains student is a finalist in an Ohio essay contest, the only Madison County student to reach the finals.
Sixth grader Molly Barber is one of 18 finalists in the Ohio Better Business Bureau’s Laws of Life essay competition.
The competition is between central Ohio’s 22 counties and encourages students to write and reflect about principles that build good character.
After hearing about the contest from Principal Kim LeGault last year, Barber’s sixth grade language arts teacher Morgan Gaus had her students write essays based on the theme. She had fellow teachers and educators read through them and the top three from her class were submitted. This is the second year she’s had her students participate.
Throughout the region, roughly 1,300 essays were entered and 52 made it to the semifinals, including Barber’s and her classmate Kristin Eades’.
Barber wrote about honesty, using a story about her brother breaking his arm during football as a way to reflect on being more honest with others. Gaus said that Barber’s brother didn’t want to tell their father he secretly disliked playing the sport and it took the injury to come out and say it.
“I took his struggles as a way of connection towards us,” said Barber.
She got the idea of writing about another person instead of just herself after reading other winners’ essays.
“The first thing that I had in my mind to do with my essay was to be original,” she said. “I looked at the stories from the previous year and I realized that there wasn’t an entry that was in another person’s perspective. So, that is what I wanted to do.”
Gaus praised her student’s originality and hard work.
“Ever since the news got out she’s skipped recesses and spent her lunch periods with me tightening up her essay for the final reading,” she said. “I have to say I’m proud.”
On May 16, Barber and the other finalists will be recognized at the Wendy’s World Headquarters in Dublin, where a banquet will be held.
Cash prizes will be awarded to one girl and boy along with one award for best theme. Schools and teachers of finalists will win gift cards.
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617 or on Twitter @MSFKwiat.