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News Education President’s Day essay contest recognizes young writers

In honor of President's Day, Read2Me is teaming up with the Rotary Club of Franklin and the Macon County Public Library for the second annual essay contest. This year's essay theme is “Great Presidents.”

The contest is open to public school and home school student in grades 3-8. Students are encouraged to choose one president from the following list and write an essay on why he was a great president: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan. Each student is encouraged to follow the guidelines for their respective grade level and to do research and use writing skills to convince readers why their choice was indeed a great president.

“Communication is one of the keys to success in your professional and your personal life,” said Gary Dills with the Franklin Rotary Club. “These essays give young people in the community an opportunity to relay their thoughts and in the process, learn about the people who helped make this country great.”

Essay winners will be split up into three grade levels, 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8 and a first and second place winner will be awarded for each group. First place students for each grade level will receive a $50 cash prize as will the student's classroom teacher to help with supplies for the classroom.

Second places winners for each grade level will receive a $25 cash prize, as well at $25 for the classroom teacher. The first place essay winners will also be published in The Macon County News. Winners will be announced and prizes will be awarded at Macon County Schools' Family Literacy Night Event at Mountain View Intermediate in April. Winners of the essay contest will also be invited to join the Rotary Club for lunch, where they will be recognized for their work.

The Macon County Public Library is helping sponsor the essay contest with funding provided by the Olive B. Eaton writing contest. The Olive B. Eaton Creative Writing Contest honors Olive B. Eaton. Born on Jan. 22, 1883, Eaton graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Pedagogy. In 1929, Eaton moved to Franklin and taught sixth grade from 1931-1936. Subsequently, she moved to Florida to be with her husband. Following his death, she moved to Boston where she lived with her daughter Mary until her death at age 96. One of her colleagues commented that “she inspired her pupils and her children to strive for the best and reach for the stars.”

A creative writing contest to encourage the development of young writers in Macon County began in 1980 in honor of Eaton. For more than 30 years, students have written short stories, poetry, and essays on a variety of topics. History, arts, literature, folklore, technology, and the natural world have all been featured topics for the contest. An endowment was established by Mary Eaton for the continued support of the contest for seventh and eighth graders in Macon County.

To be eligible, entries must be works of prose, and meet a specific set of guidelines. Each entry must have a cover page with the title of the work, the author's name, parent’s name, full mailing address, telephone number, school, grade and teacher’s name. Home schooled students need to include title of the work, the author’s name, parent’s name, full mailing address, telephone number, and grade level. Every subsequent page must carry the title and a page number, but not the author's name (to facilitate fair judging).

Each essay must reflect the contestant's own research, writing and original thinking. Plagiarism, which includes the use of thirdparty poetry, song lyrics, characters or another person's ideas, without written permission or proper acknowledgment will result in disqualification.

Submission must be received by March 1. Teachers are to send their classroom entries to Diane Cotton at MVI. Home schooled students send their entry to Diane Cotton, 161 Clarks Chapel Road, Franklin, NC 28734, or drop them by Mountain View Intermediate School.

Essays are to be handwritten in black ink or prepared on a computer, using black type in a non-script font no smaller than 12 point or larger than 14 point. Essays must have a bibliography listing all references including internet resources. Add the electronic address used to access the document as supplementary information. Any essay with information copied directly from sources without using quotes will be disqualified.


3-4th grade: 200 word minimum + bibliography
5-6th grade: 300word minimum + bibliography
7-8th grade: 500 word minimum + bibliography

Each entrant may submit only one essay per contest. All entries are final. No revisions are accepted. The decisions of the judges are entirely their own, and are final.


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