Neighbor to Neighbor

November 17, 2009

Dozens of 6th graders throughout Enfield’s public and parochial schools have participated in an Essay Contest sponsored by yours truly and are now awaiting the results. There are many reasons why I promoted this contest. First, encouraging young people to write is very important. Writing skills are used throughout our lifetimes and there are few ways to succeed if you can’t communicate well. Back in 1981 I graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science in Education, and I was certified to teach both Secondary English and Social Studies. Anything I can do to help young people learn and grow is great in my book.

Second, all the great folks at Rockville Bank thought this was a great idea as well, and they will contribute the prizes for the winners and runners up from each school. In this day and age a prize like this will not only make the students proud, but also help with school expenses in the future. Thank you Rockville Bank for your incredible support…a lot of children will learn that hard work does pay dividends.

Third, November is National Role Model month and I have asked the young people to write about their role models. Back when I was a kid I used to like to listen to baseball games on the radio. I could be in my room, doing my homework, and use my imagination to “be at the game”. Lately I’ve been disappointed with sports because it seems to be all about how much people are paid. And, let’s not even get into steroids, which misses the whole point about being an athlete. I’m very excited to find out who our young people look to as role models. Who do our children look up to? Who do they want to be like? I’m betting that I’ll be pleasantly surprised!

On a final note, whether a young person wins the essay contest or not, they’re all winners if they even try. Life is about just trying, and I firmly believe it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. Just taking a chance and putting down your thoughts is a big deal for everyone, especially 6th graders. So for all the students at Henry Barnard, Eli Whitney, Enfield Street, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Hazardville Memorial, Prudence Crandall, Thomas G. Alcorn, St. Bernard and St. Martha, and all the teachers and administrators who made this a reality, I say “Thanks!”