The Fayetteville Lions Club has sponsored another year of Fayetteville and Lincoln County school participation in the annual Tennessee Lions District 12S Drug Essay Contest, encouraging youth in our community to avoid the pitfalls of recreational drug use.

Each participating student was challenged to write an essay of no more than 1,500 words on this year’s theme: “Say No to Drugs, Yes to Your Dreams.”

The annual Lions Club Drug Essay Contest was once again successful as demonstrated by the receipt of 202 essays, despite the distractions and obstacles imposed by Covid-19 protocols and restrictions. Contest Chairman Lion Jim Neale said “We thank the teachers and parents who support this contest and who clearly have our local students writing at grade level or above. We know that this year, with the mix of virtual and in-person classrooms and tight time constraints, it was a challenge to get these essays written and collected. But it may be more important than ever to have a dialog on drug abuse, considering the social impacts of the Covid pandemic.”

Local judges declared one winner per school, each presented a check for $100. Unfortunately, since the club cancelled their December and January physical club meetings, the winners this year did not have an opportunity to visit the club to recite their essays. When reporting to the Lions Club, Neale noted “Once again the students in Lincoln County revealed through their essays that they know a lot about what drug abuse can do to their minds and bodies. Many had stories to tell about the horrible impacts to their own family and friends and seemed truly determined to not let that happen to them.”

Livia Ragland, Bella King competing at district level

Two overall winning essays across Lincoln County were forwarded to compete at the Lions District 12S Headquarters, where they will compete with entries from 40 other clubs across Middle Tennessee. Livia Ragland, 8th grade at Riverside Christian Academy, had the Fayetteville Club’s overall winning essay in the sixth through eighth Grade Division, while Bella King, 11th Grade at Fayetteville High School, had the overall winning essay in the 9-12 grade division. District Winners will be announced at the District 12-S Convention in Carthage, TN on February 20.

Other local winners

The other local winners in the Senior Division were Jordan Dockery, 11th Grade from LCHS; Lilly Ragland, 11th Grade from Riverside Christian Academy. In the Junior Division local winners were Maggie Heffington, sixthe grade from Fayetteville Middle School; McKinsey Quick, eighth grade from Highland Rim School; Jacob Moore, seventh grade from Flintville School; Jackson Osborn, eighth grade from Blanche School; and Libbey Logan, eighth grade from South Lincoln School.

Lion Bill Jackson, who served as one of the judges, said, “I read and evaluated over sixty essays written by sixth graders at Fayetteville Middle School. I wish to recognize the extra time and dedication given by faculty to obtain this amount of student participation. The students exhibited imagination and thoughtfulness in preparing their essays.”