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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Third Grade Student Places in Citywide Essay Contest

Jace White, a third grade student at Janet Brockett Elementary, received a very special surprise on the morning of Friday, February 10. Around 9:15 a.m., White was completing his daily classroom tasks, completely unaware of the excitement and pride he would feel in just moments.

Rewind about two months…

White, an avid essay writer, learned about an essay contest for 3rd – 6th graders who live in Arlington. Without hesitation, White began working on his essay on the assigned topic for his grade level, “If animals could talk, what would they say?”

The “2012 Animal Essay Contest,” sponsored by the City of Arlington, encourages students to learn the importance of responsible pet ownership. The contest, now in its eleventh year, awards a First, Second and Third Place winner in each of the four grade levels involved. The winners receive a Series EE U.S. Savings Bond in the amount of $150, $350 or $500.

This year, approximately 1,275 essays were submitted from students in public, private and home schools. White’s essay was up against about 350 others in his grade level.

Entries were judged on the elements of effective writing: Focus and Coherence, Organization, Development of Ideas, Voice and Conventions. The panel of essay judges was made up of members of the Arlington Animal Services Center Advisory Board and local citizens – including Mansfield ISD Board Member Raul Gonzalez. Entries were selected about one month after the contest deadline, and from what we hear, the competition was steep!

Now, back to that fateful Friday in February…

That morning, White’s parents and younger sister were joined in the front office of Brockett Elementary by Arlington City Council member Sheri Capehart, Arlington Animal Services Manager Chris Huff, MISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bob Morrison, Board Member Raul Gonzalez and Principal Chuck Roe. The group was preparing for what was sure to be an amazing and memorable moment for White.

The group finally entered Mrs. Clay's classroom, where White would soon be surprised. Sheri Capehart addressed the class, informing them of the contest details and revealing that one of their peers was named the Second Place Winner and would receive $350 savings bond and an invitation to be recognized at the Arlington City Council meeting on March 6.

White’s eyes widened as Capehart announced his name as the winner. His classmates cheered with pride. When asked about the main message of his essay about animals, White stated, “I wanted to show that animals are a lot like humans. I think they have the same feelings.”

What does White think an animal might say if they could talk?

“I’m hungry,” or “Can I have a new toy?”

Congratulations to Jace White, Second Place Winner in the Third Grade Division of the 2012 Animal Essay Contest!