The Fayetteville Lions Club has sponsored Fayetteville and Lincoln County school participation in the annual Tennessee Lions District 12S Drug Essay Contest for over 20 years.
The goal of this contest is to encourage young people in our community to develop personal convictions about avoiding the pitfalls of recreational drug use. The contest is limited to ages 11-14. Each participating student was challenged to write an essay of not more than 1,500 words on this year’s theme: “How Do We Reach Beyond our Horizon to Stay Drug-Free?”
Due to significant effort from the students and teachers of the participating schools, the annual Lions Club Drug Essay Contest was once again successful as demonstrated by the receipt of over 400 essays. According to the Contest Chairman Lion Jim Neale the papers continue to demonstrate the fine writing abilities of students at all participating schools.
“It is obvious that the English language arts teachers in all of the schools have been rewarded in their efforts with students that are writing at grade level or above,” Neale said.
Local judges declared at least one winner per school. The winners and their parents were invited to a Lions Club meeting where each winner was presented a check for $100 and given the opportunity to read their essay to the club members and guests. When introducing the winning essayists to the club, Neale noted, “It is incredible that the students are doing so well even with the evidence that many of them are exposed to the effects of drug abuse in their homes and in the community in general. They indeed know a lot about what drugs do to their minds and bodies and seem to be determined to not let that happen to them. We hope that our program encourages many students to carefully think through their personal choices and actions with regard to drugs, and to talk about those choices with their classmates and family.”
first in district
The overall winning entry across all schools was written by Shealyn Hyatt from Ninth Grade Academy. Her essay was forwarded to compete at the Lions District 12S Headquarters which is comprised of 50 Lions clubs across Middle Tennessee.
On Feb. 9 at the District Convention in Lebanon, her essay was announced as the first place winner. Shealyn received an additional $500 award.
The Lions and our community should congratulate Shealyn and all 400 of these fine writers and wish them luck and support in sticking to their choice to lead a drug-free life!
Other local winners
The other local winners were Scout Carter from Fayetteville High School, Natalie Slater from Riverside Christian Academy, Stephanie Ducat from Fayetteville Middle, Laura Mitchell from Blanche School, Shea Thomas from Flintville School, Bailey Casey from Highland Rim School, Baylea Gardner from South Lincoln School and Hunter Lanier from Unity School.
At one of the local winner presentations, Fayetteville Lions Club President Chris Ross said, “The goal of the drug essay contest is to encourage our community to develop personal convictions about the pitfalls of drug abuse. We hope to help them reflect thoughtfully on the negative impacts of drugs. Additionally this is an opportunity to write and publicly speak to an audience, other than their teachers or peers. We appreciate everyone who has participated in our Drug Essay Contest this year. “