Rotary hears winning Laws of Life essays

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, April 27, 2022

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Members of the Bainbridge Rotary Club gathered for their weekly meeting at the Kirbo Center on Tuesday. This week they were treated to speeches from the four winners of the Georgia Laws of Life essay contest. These were high school freshman Holton Dollar, sophomore Ava Prouse, junior Sanaa’ Hines, and senior Anthony Allen.

After a brief introduction from BHS English department chair Heidi Chambers, Allen read his essay first. Titled “A Smile, A Chance”, he described how he met his best friend years ago. “I’ve learned that a smile can go a long way, so what’s the harm in giving them yours?” Allen said. According his recounting in the essay, after finishing his school work early, he noticed one classmate looked rather upset. “I could’ve easily ignored it… but for some reason, maybe the will of God, or because I had no reason to do what I had to do, I took a chance.” As Allen recalls, he asked them what was wrong, and this classmate was actually surprised. “That was about seven years ago, and because of it, I met my best friend.”

After Allen finished, Dollar took to the podium, reading his essay, “He’s a Working Man”, about working with his father. “’Come on, let’s get to work’ was often the first thing I would hear after riding home from a long day at school,” Dollar read. “I always thought it was a waste of time, I never saw it for what my dad was trying to drill into my thick skull: a chance to learn.” He recalled working on a tractor for hours, while his father watched him making mistakes, using a trial and error method of teaching. “Like the quote very well said by John Wayne, ‘What’s the secret of success? Right decisions. How do you make the right decisions? Experience. How do you get experience? Wrong decisions.’”

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Prouse spoke next, reading her speech “Applesauce is Not Dessert.” She began by recounting a story from her childhood about dinner at her grandparent’s house, her younger self waiting for dessert. “Envisioning delectable sweets like ice cream or Grandma’s cookies, I asked what was for dessert. My grandma… gave me a one-word answer: ‘Applesauce’, to which I indignantly replied, ‘Applesauce is not dessert!’” According to Prouse, this was an incident her grandfather would constantly remind her of, even as he suffered from Alzheimer’s. “As more and more of his recollections and stories faded away, my declaration from so many years ago still lingered in his mind. I never would have thought that something so presumably meaningless could be so meaningful, especially in the face of such a cruel disease,” she said. “I now have such a deep appreciation for my memories, and I now understand what a gift it is to be able to hold on to them and share them with others.”

Lastly, Hines read her essay, “One Out of Five Senses.” In her essay, she wrote about her encounters with an elderly deaf woman. “Walking down the roads was an everyday activity, and yet I never seemed to catch the lady sitting with her eyes closed,” Hines recalled. “As I walked up to the chair, she opened her eyes and said to me, ‘I’m okay, I’m trying to hear the birds sing.’” Hines recounted asking a man “who appeared to be her husband” about her. “Heart filled with fear, I replied, ‘Is she ok? She’s just sitting in the driveway, eyes shut like she’s praying. The people in this neighborhood would think she’s crazy.’” After learning the elderly woman was deaf, Hines described what birdsongs sounded like, “Like Heaven.” “To think that things I had taken for granted my whole life were the very things she dreamed of,” Hines recalled.