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Students' essays warn of dangers of drugs
Lions Club announces winners of annual contest
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The McMinnville Lions Club has announced winners of its 2013 Lions Club Youth Outreach Essay Contest. The contest is open to students in grades 6-12. The essay contest is offered annually by the McMinnville Lions Club to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs.
This year’s theme was “How Drugs Affect Teenagers’ Lives.” Students from Boyd Christian School, Covenant Academy, Eastside, Irving College, Morrison and Warren County Middle School wrote essays.
Kerri Berenguer, a student at Covenant Academy placed first in the high school division. Boyd Christian students Emma Rhoton and Rhiannon Hoover placed second and third in the high school division, respectively.
Morrison student Brooke Powers placed first in the middle school division. Lexi Loader of Eastside placed second, with Abigail Mathis of Centertown placing third.
Berenguer’s essay begins, “It is one simple choice, one little word and it will either make you or break you. It is really up to you, which path you choose. One path, the path I choose, leads to paradise and a long-lived life, while the other path, the path that ruins lives, families and relationships, leads to nothing but death and destruction.”
Berenguer stated the second path, which will lead to life going downhill, may be easier to follow for different reasons.
“As teenagers we fear many things: We fear what others will say about us. We fear that they will make fun of us. We fear that our friends will disregard us. We fear that we will be treated differently. We fear that people will not like us. But, most of all, we fear to stand alone,” wrote Berenguer.
Lion Barbara Scott has over 50 years experience as an English teacher. Scott selects the essay winners from Warren County.
 “I do this because I am probably the only English teacher in the McMinnville Lions Club. This is a little different from teaching, though. Teachers grade essays by measuring on standards. With this, the essays are measured against each other. They told us to concentrate on the content and don’t let grammar count too much,” said Scott. “I was very pleased with the quality of the essays. Most seemed very serious about what they were writing. Some will break your heart. Those wrote about personal experiences. We Lions feel like this contest is worth the effort. That is why we keeping offering it. We feel young people need to think about this subject and the problems drugs can cause. Drugs are so prevalent these days.”
 First place winners received $50, second place $25, and third place $10. All first-place finishers advance to the district contest, where winners will be awarded savings bonds: $1,500 first place, $1,000 second place, $500 third place, $300 fourth place, and $200 fifth place.
Honorable mentions were given to the following students:
• Boyd Christian School - freshman Philip Brock.
• Centertown School — seventh-grader Hunter Adams, Page Duloe and Phoebe Shaw; eighth-graders Ivy Vinson and Juan Jantes.
• Covenant Academy — seventh-graders Naina Patel, Samuel Griffith and Lance Curtis; eighth-graders Crosley Smith, Lauren McDonald and Chloe Hillis; freshmen Hannah Griffin, Will Whitlock and David Taylor Madewell; and sophomore Kelly Winkler.
• Irving College — seventh-graders Caylie Sherrell, Anna Wanamaker and Jalen Smith; eighth-graders Gabby Magness, Cheslee Curtis and Layton Cartwright.
• Morrison School — seventh-graders Riley Desmarais and Levi G. Craven; eighth-graders Harley Boyd, Sara Robinson and Paige Coppinger.
• WCMS — seventh-graders Margnia Harris and Hailey Wood.