Fremont Rotary Club is proud to present the winning essays from the Rotary Four-Way Test Essay Contest held at Fremont Middle School.
We would like to thank Principal Marjoe Cooper for his support, and Mrs. Polly Garlock, Grade 8 English Language Arts Teacher for assisting our Club in organizing the essay contest among her 8th grade students.
The 8th grade students were asked to submit an essay of 1,500 words on topic: “Rotary’s Four-Way Test and What it Means to the Conduct of my Daily Life”.
Rotarian Christie thanked the judges which comprises: Rotarian David Yonke, Past President Cheryl Cotter, and Immediate Past President Pam Hoesman for reading the submitted essays and picked the winners.
2nd Place Winner with $100 monetary award – Mattie Billow, 8th Grade Student from Fremont Middle School
How long has it be since you’ve positively changed your life?  Do you think asking four questions can change and influence your life for the better?  The Four-Way Test challenges citizens of all ages; young and old to change for the better of their lives and those around them.  These four questions affect my daily life and hoe I conduct myself as a maturing young lady.  Truth, fairness, goodwill, strong friendships, and mutual benefits are anchors and structure to how we live within our world; if all are used together, we can compare them to the building a house or baking of a cake.  Within this essay I will try to enlighten you and teach you the way four simple questions affect me and how they could affect you too.
            What’s something your parents have always told you?  Maybe an idea or belief; maybe it’s good manners like opening doors for others?  Perhaps it was keeping a structured idea or plan and working the plan?  I was raised on the idea that truth and being honest would put me far in my life and wherever I am led.  The Four-Way Test asks this question; “Is it the truth?”.  As mentioned with the first paragraph, truth is the foundation of the house and the first ingredient in our cake analogies.  When building a house, you don’t want a damaged or potentially unsafe foundation for obvious reasons; the house will sink and be destroyed.  In a cake, you want it to rise and hold it’s shape right?  Who wants a sunk in, blob of a cake?  Our house and cake both involve the truth within these simple analogies; everything is built on the truth and trust.  Truth and trust go hand in hand: without the truth there is no trust.  If your friend was known for being untruthful and has lied to your face repeatedly, would you still believe what they say?  A few examples of our Four-Way Test question within a teenagers life is finding a $20 dollar bill on the ground and giving it to an adult to be returned to the proper owner, putting down false rumors you know aren’t true, and not cheating on tests and quizzes because it’s not the true grade that shows what you know and have earned.
            Imagine you’re having an awful day; you woke up late, your book bag ripped dumping your textbooks, folders, and notes in the wet grass.  Just as you’re picking your stuff up, a hand reaches down and helps you pick up your stuff; it was the girl you helped when her locker was jammed.  The next question asked is also important; “Will it build goodwill and better friendships?”.  Like I’ve done in the past two paragraphs, the analogies will be in a form of a house and a cake.  Goodwill is the skeleton of the house rising up from the foundation; giving the house it’s shape and structure.  When cooking a cake you reply on the pan to create the shape you desire and molds it into said shape.  Society no longer values goodwill to others like they used to.  If you saw an old woman struggling with something, you’d help right?  What if it was a 30 year old man struggling?  Would you help or walk past him?  Society has forgotten the true meaning of goodwill means; a simple meaning that can be as simple as being kind and caring to those who need it.  Just because someone isn’t frail and old doesn’t mean that they don’t need help every once in a while, we must remember we all have weaknesses; so why not be kind and compassionate to those who need it most?
            Have you ever had a friend who put their wishes first?  Maybe you planned a day for you two and what are the chances; her crush magically shows up and you’re the third-wheel.  My personal favorite, yourself and a sibling make plans to cover for each other; you do the laundry but they didn’t do the dishes for you, now you’re grounded and they get off without any trouble.  “Will it be beneficial for all concerned?”.  Mutual benefits is the drywall, paint, lighting, and everything that makes the house elegant or humble; but if mutual benefits aren’t mutual they can do damage.  Let’s return to the cake analogy; you always let the cake cool before you put on icing to prevent it from becoming a runny gross mess right?  When you wait the icing remains beautiful and elegant on the cake.  Positive examples of mutual benefits is a job.  If you work outside to help your elderly neighbors with things like their lawn, getting their mail for them, even taking out their trash you’re doing something that benefits you by doing positive work in your community and helping those who need it while also getting exercise.  So why not go out within your community and do activities that will benefit you and your community.  Good examples of beneficial activities you can do are working in a local soup kitchen or volunteering in an animal shelter; these help your communities greatly while teaching you to give back and learning ethics.
            In conclusion, four questions could change how you live your daily life.  In all honesty, if everyone in the world used these four questions to positively change, would you see a difference in your life?  A final reference to our analogy of the house and cake are wrapped up and are finished; the house stands tall and proud while the cake is dainty and elegant.  Imagine a world where no one was above or below another, goodwill ensuring no one would struggle again.  Mutual benefits protecting the desires of everyone.  Wouldn’t that be an ideal world?  Why wouldn’t you want to change for the better?  It all starts with one person; why not you?
1st Place Winner with $200 monetary award – Ethan Beardmore, 8th Grade Student from Fremont Middle School
Even before I decided to write this essay I’ve tried to live my life in a way that won’t just help myself but help others.  I think this is how everyone should think and behave.  Sadly, in today’s day and age a lot of people, adults all the way down to children, don’t think this way.  The world runs on money and making money.  That’s why a lot of people just want to think about themselves because they think it will make them rich, therefore, making them happy.  But I feel that money can sometimes bring the worst out of people.  When I become older all I want is enough money to be comfortable with my job, house, and expenses.  If I do this I will be able to live the life I want to live and follow the “Four-Way Test”.  Is it the truth?  Is it fair to all concerned?  Will it build good-will and better friendships?  Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
            Is it the truth?  This is a question I ask myself all the time to make sure I am really telling the truth.  Telling the truth is one of my biggest moral values, so the couple times I remember lying I remember feeling extremely guilty and disappointed in myself.  But you can get in a situation where you’re not quite sure what the correct choice is, so you have a few options.  What you can do is ask yourself a few simple questions, such as: ”How will this decision affect others?  Am I considering how this will make people feel?  Will I be proud to tell my parents or teacher this?.”  These are all good questions to ask yourself when in a situation with a crucial outcome.
            “When I do good, I feel good.  When I do bad, I feel bad.” –Abraham Lincoln.
I think this great quote from Abraham Lincoln shows how I feel when I tell the truth and when I lie.  Telling the truth is very important because it will affect your friendships, your family, your community, and your future.  Little choices can have a huge effect on ourselves and others.  So that previous statement makes seeing my peers lie interesting.  If they are going to lie, it is not a good choice because someone is eventually going to find out and they are going to have big consequences now or later in life if they don’t stop immediately.
            “I believe that in the end the truth will conquer.” –John Wycliffe
This quote helps me in my daily life by showing me that honesty is the best policy and that I should be honest and tell the truth in all situations.
            Is it fair to all concerned?  What fairness means to me is playing fair and by the rules, admitting when you are wrong, caring and including others, and most of all making sure all others are treated with kindness and respect.  When people aren’t treated with fairness, bad things happen.  Several wars have begun because people have felt that haven’t been treated with fairness.  This shows how fairness can make the world a peaceful place.
            Also, the word fairness also reminds me of the scales of justice.  Each side is balanced, and gets even quantity of whatever the debate is over.  Being a fair person is one important ingredient in being a good person.  Being a fair person make a good quality in a friend and to an employer later in life.  So, being fair is also very important to me.
            Will it build good-will and better friendships?  Being a true friend means being helpful, sticking up for your friend, listening well, and being honest.  In my daily life, having my friends makes things a lot easier, such as school.  School is so much better with good, trustworthy friends because in school after you learn in your classes, you then get to hand out with your friends at lunch and after school.  School without friends would be really boring for me personally.  Starting a new friendship can be awesome and turning that friendship into a great one takes work.  But having good friends who support you can be important in life especially if you get yourself in a rough situation.  So knowing this makes me strive to be a good person and an even better friend to all.
            Is it beneficial to all concerned?  Beneficial is defined as something being helpful.  This concept relates to the three questions as in, I think that it is important that more people think about the things they say and do to more considerate.  I remember when I was younger my kindergarten teacher told me a phrase that I still use today to try only beneficial things.  The phrase was “If you don’t’ have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  I also think that everybody needs criticism, but when some people try and give positive criticism they only tend to hurt the other person’s feelings.  Even though others may see this specific subject as not important compared to the other questions of the “Four-Way Test,” I feel that nay way I can help others is beneficial to my community at large.
            One of my biggest goals in life currently is to help others.  I want to reach a little goal before going for bigger ones.  I am thinking this way because I like to accomplish smaller tasks that work towards achieving my bigger goal.  Using the “Four-Way Test” in my daily life will enable me to be a better more thoughtful person.  So when I apply the Four-Way Test to my lifestyle I feel like it creates better ideas, good communication, and a brighter future for me and our world.
Group Picture: 1st place winner-Ethan Beardmore, 2nd place winner-Mattie Billow, Rotarian Christie Weninger and President-Elect Scott Lang.