Rotary Club hears from the ‘Laws of Life’ essays winners

Published 4:18 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Three BHS winners of The Georgia Rotary Clubs Laws of Life essay contest were introduced to Bainbridge Rotary on Tuesday by Heidi Chambers, Chair of the English Department. In her introductory remarks she mentioned that this is the 14th year BHS students have participated in the competition, with over 1000 essays written by local students this year.  Three of them accompanied her to Rotary to read their compositions. One student, Hannah Klock, was unable to attend.

The first speaker was ninth grade winner, Gracie Sellars, who spoke on the maxim, “She believed she could,so she did.” She illustrated the character trait of perseverance as she struggled to become a better volleyball player after being told by her coach that the reason she didn’t get more play time was because,“she didn’t have quite as much experience as the other girls.” That is when she realized she would have to believe in herself more than her coach would.

She started attending club volleyball team practices 20 minutes away from where she lived. She felt very out of place at first as she had come from a small private school and found herself in with very competent players, none of whom she knew. That is when she realized all the skills she had missed before. She persisted and continued to go to club practices, and earned a spot on the team. She also became friends with some of the teammates and met amazing coaches that forever changed her way of playing volleyball. At the end of the season she won the Hustle Award and Best All Around for Volleyball. She concluded with, “I was so glad I believed I could prove my previous coach wrong, and I did.”

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Second presenter was Morgan Sykes, representing the 11th grade.

Morgan spoke on, “We remember their love when they can no longer remember,” as she told of her relationship with her great-grandmother who left the world August 5, 2017. She spoke of the memorial service and how she read a eulogy, then entombed her among looming Oak trees.  “However, my Granny had been gone years before that Saturday. I learned how to remember Granny’s love when she could no longer remember,” she explained. Her Granny began to develop signs of dementia and started to forget whether or not she had eaten or not.

After school, Morgan and her brother would spend time with Granny, making sure she made it to the restroom safely and other ways of caring and loving.

She explains that her Granny had spent years babysitting her and her brother until well after they began school. They had to return the loving care they had received. She writes, “My experience taking care of someone so full of love for me at a young age has left a large impact on my character. We often times forget that our loved ones will not be here forever, and eventually they will need us in ways that call for tremendous sacrifice.”

Lastly, Morgan says she learned what it means to forget who you are, but remember the face of someone who loves you, and she remembers Granny’s love for her with every muscle in her body. Her character trait is gratitude.

The third student was Noemi Noriega, who quoted a maxim from F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone…just remember that all the people in the world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” Her character train is Kindness.

She told of the things that come to mind when you think of Kindness. “Children are often associated with innocence, honesty, compassion, kindness and many more amazing characteristics. “ These are things she believed also until she got to middle school.

Things were progressing well on her first day until she was at lunch with her gym class. They sat at one table and ate quietly. But then the special education class came in and she began to see people making fun of, laughing at and joking about the special education students. As she left the lunchroom she asked a classmate what was so funny about them. Her reply was that they are not like us and that makes them weird and very funny. Over the course of the following week she noticed the same behavior every day and that the special education students kept their heads down and looked as if their spirit had been broken.

She went home and discussed all this with her mom and dad, telling them what she had seen and how she felt about it. Their response to her was that people in this world are mean and there is really nothing you can do about them. “All you can do to make it better is to be yourself, be kind to them, talk to them and be a friend.” This she did, the very next day. She walked over to their table and took a chance. “Hello, I’m Noemi.”

Now going forward she always tries to remember that all of us are human and we all must deal with problems the world throws us; some just have more problems than others.