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MVP applauds the Myerstown-ELCO Rotary Club for its support of local students.

The Myerstown Vitality Partnership (MVP) is a volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing their beloved Myerstown. Additionally, the MVP organizes programs and events that bring the community together.

In this issue of MVP News, we recognize the outstanding work that the Myerstown-ELCO Rotary Club does with the ELCO School District through supporting excellence in the accomplishments of our student population.

For example, here is an annual project that helps propel students in the direction of becoming well-rounded, community-focused adults.

The Rotary Four-Way Test Essay Contest

The essay contest provides a unique platform for students to explore and express their understanding of ethical principles and values central to Rotary International’s work. 

This year’s essay topic asked students to reflect on the importance of community service within the context of the ‘Four-Way Test,’ which asks students to consider if the action is truthful, fair, beneficial to all concerned, and builds goodwill and better friendships.

The students were all in the Ninth Grade Literature, Analysis, and Composition class. Their teachers had this to say about the competition.

“The Rotary Four-Way Test Essay allows ninth-grade students to practice the writing skills they learn throughout the year. The experience fosters creativity and reflection. Competition among peers also allows them to receive rewards and recognition.”

Mrs. Brianne Drexel

“I see students from all levels become engaged in the Rotary Four-Way Test Essay Contest because they know the entire class is participating; it is an excellent opportunity to learn about community service and its importance. Some students are already involved in community service, and others become motivated to try it due to writing their essays; after learning about the Rotary Four-Way Test, some students adopt it to help make life choices.”

Mr. Jonathan Bickel

A panel of Rotarian judges determines the top three essays from all entries submitted to the Club, representing the top essays from each class competition (20 this year, for instance); the winners receive prizes and recognition. The essays were read aloud at a Myerstown-ELCO Rotary Meeting, and the top entry was announced at the meeting. 

This year’s winner was Gracie Wilson. Here is her essay:

 Why is community service so important?

By Gracie Wilson

What does the importance of community service mean to you? Well to me it means a lot. Community service is volunteers. A couple years ago my grandpa was in an accident. We have an ATV and it was parked right above a hill. Before we knew it, it started rolling down because the emergency brake gave out. Well my grandpa was on his tractor, he tried to stop the ATV from rolling down the hill with his bucket on the front of his tractor. Sadly that did not work because the ATV was stronger than the tractor. Unfortunately my grandpa flipped off his tractor and fractured his cervical spine. We called 911 and many first responder vehicles came and an ambulance. If it wasn’t for those volunteers that day who knows what that would’ve looked like. I am so thankful for community service it is extremely important to me, because of them that day my grandpa is still with us.

According to the four way rotary essay, there are 4 questions we need to answer. The first question is “Is it the truth?” The answer is yes, community service is very important, it saves and benefits many people’s lives. Community service didn’t just help my grandpa that day, it continues to help many other people. For example people who are less fortunate and don’t have the ability to be able to clean their house on their own. There are volunteers who go to people’s houses and help them clean so their home still feels like a home, to me that is very important. 

The second rotary essay question is “Is it fair to all concerned?” The answer is yes. Community service isn’t to make you feel better about yourself or to make money. Community service is a volunteer thing, people who do community service are usually ones that just love to help and always are offering an extra hand. In community service there isn’t any, “Oh you do more things then I do.” People don’t do community service to make money, they do it because it brings them joy and happiness to help others. Community service isn’t a competition. There aren’t many things in life that aren’t a competition anymore in this society, but community service is one that isn’t.

The third rotary essay question is “Will it build good will and better friendships?” The answer again is yes. Community service is so important to many people, including me. People make very strong relationships doing community service whether if  you volunteer at the fire station or help take care of old people, it doesn’t matter you are always building relationships with others. Community service doesn’t just bring helpful hands, it brings so much more. You could go into community service not feeling like this will really benefit you, but you can accomplish so many things.  

The final rotary essay question is “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” The answer is yes. Have you ever driven past a food drive or a clothing drive? Those people running the food drive or clothing drive are volunteers. They are there because they want to help the less fortunate. They want to make their life a little easier. If we didn’t have community service so many less fortunate people would be struggling ten times more. Community service benefits so many things and people. I am so glad that we have community service, it’s a very valuable and important concept.

I didn’t realize how important community service is until I started writing this essay. I didn’t understand the point of this essay until I got writing and brainstorming it. This essay has made me have a different outlook on community service. I will always be so thankful for community service because if there weren’t volunteers that day that the accident happened with my grandpa, who knows if he would still be with us. Please take a minute and think how less fortunate we would be in many ways if we didn’t have community service. 

Ms. Wilson’s winning essay has been forwarded to the Rotary 7390 District competition, which comprises seven counties in south-central Pennsylvania.

Myerstown-ELCO Rotary Club also provides support for the RYLA Scholarship – RYLA stands for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. It is an intensive leadership experience organized by Rotary Clubs and Districts where participants develop leadership skills while interacting with others and having fun. The Rotary Club also sponsors the Interact Club at ELCO High School. 

These activities may be covered in more detail in future MVP News. 

More MVP news

Farmer’s Market—This is a reminder to show up for your “Farm-to-Table” fix at our new Myerstown Farmer’s Market at Myerstown Park, Center Avenue, and Route 501. The Market will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 1st

Thanks to DoGood’s Tavern for hosting our recent MVP networking mixer on April 22nd; it was a lovely event.

DoGood’s Tavern is located at 2 E Main Ave in Myerstown.

If you want information about joining the Myerstown-ELCO Rotary Club, visit their Facebook page.

MVP recognizes organizations, individuals, and local businesses worthy of recognition in our monthly MVP News column. Look for more of this news in the future.

For more about the MVP, find our previous columns below:

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