(Houston / Bellaire, Texas) Taylor Smith of Brenham Christian Academy was named top essayist in an area-wide writing competition sponsored by South Texas Rotary District 5890, receiving a $2000 college scholarship for her efforts. Smith’s essay explored how to weigh personal decisions using Rotary’s 4-way test of ethical behavior: Is it the truth? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Bonnie Cantwell of Fort Bend Baptist Academy received the second place scholarship of $1000, and Emily Nelson of Alvin High School took third place, receiving a $500 scholarship. Rotary District Governor Sunny Sharma recognized the winners at a special awards luncheon hosted by Bellaire Southwest Rotary at Braeburn Country Club. Eligibility for the annual award is limited to graduating seniors who are members of InterAct clubs at area high schools.
“The contest promotes Rotary’s literacy goals as well as ethical values,” District Chairperson Nan Wagoner said. “A panel of ten judges from Rotary clubs across the District selects winners based on combined scoring totals for content and style, and each essay explores an aspect of our famous test.”
Serving on the 2011 judges’ panel with attorney Wagoner were Sunbelt Medical CEO Sunny Sharma of Ft Bend Rotary, attorney Rhonda Walls of Katy Rotary, Chemac, Inc., vice president Chris Schneider of Memorial Spring Branch Rotary, Farmers Insurance broker Jeff Tallas of Sugar Land Rotary, ER physician Dr. Nick Giannone and Fabiola Giannone, restaurateur Tommie Buscemi of Kingwood Rotary, Bankers Life & Casualty executive Jon McKinnie of Space Center Rotary, and Cuneo & Associates principal Carmen Cuneo of Hermann Park Rotary. The honorees received framed certificates and gifts after the scholarship announcements, then read their winning essays to the audience. "The contest is a great way to encourage high school seniors to think about Rotary principles in a practical context," Rotary governor Sharma said. "It lets us encourage good writing at the same time we help seniors with college expenses."
Rotary clubs provide humanitarian services and promote goodwill in more than 165 countries around the globe. South Texas Rotary District 5890 is comprised of 60 individual Rotary clubs with more than 3500 members, and information about Rotary grants, membership, and charitable projects may be found online at www.bellairesw.org and www.rotary.org.