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‘Four Way Test’ essay contest promotes character development

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Representatives from the Brockville Rotary Club visited Vanier Public School last Friday morning in order to announce their annual essay writing competition, a Club initiative designed to encourage the students to examine the concept of character development as well as self, and subsequently, community and world improvement. In their essays, the participants are asked to highlight Rotary’s trademark philosophy, ‘The Four Way Test’, the cornerstone of all Rotarian activity, which examines the concepts of truth, fairness, goodwill, friendship, and how one’s actions can affect others, each of which, educator Michelle Peters says, ‘coincide perfectly with the Upper Canada District School Board’s character development initiative.’
“The UCDSB is highly committed to character development and its role within our curriculum. Our principles and Rotary’s are very similar, so activities like the essay competition are complimentary to the message that we’re trying to convey,” explained Peters, adding that the announcement also commemorated the official launch of the local Club’s first EarlyAct Club, a school-wide service club for elementary students from ages 5 to 13, aimed at promoting goodwill, understanding, and peace, through the active participation of its student members, that will commence in September.
At Vanier, Peters continued, the Club’s membership would encompass all students, each of whom will be required to attend one Club meeting, which they would later discuss with their classmates. The Club will also be lead by a six member student executive council and will be overseen by a group of adult volunteers that includes parent representatives and Rotarians.
“Our mission is to engage students, at a very early age, to be active citizens and improve the quality of life in their school, local, and global communities,” said Peters.
Longtime Rotarians, Catherine Deplaedt and Martin Gysbers, who were on-hand Friday morning to launch the competition, explained that EA also teaches caring, respect, empathy, responsibility, tolerance, citizenship, compassion, friendship and leadership.
“The overall mission is ‘Service above Self’,” explained Deplaedt.
“Everything that EarlyAct teaches are good guiding principles for conduct in everyday life.”
“The hope is that if we instil these values at a young age, it will have a positive effect on their whole lives,” added Gysbers.
The competition will be open to the primary, intermediate, and senior divisions, with submissions being judged by the Rotary members, based on content, spelling, grammar, thoughtfulness and creativity. Winners will be announced on April 29th.


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