Two Zion students win library essay contest
By Tina Johansson Special to the News-Sun December 17, 2012 6:36PM
Director of Zion Boys and Girls Club Mike McCauley (left), student Shannon Jordan and student Gloria Rosado with Elmwood School principal Deirdre Garnett. The fifth-grade students won new Apple iPads at the fourth annual student essay contest held at the Zion-Benton Public Library. | Special to Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 16, 2013 2:30AM
Fifth-grade students Shannon Jordan and Gloria Rosado each won new Apple iPads at the fourth annual student essay contest held at the Zion-Benton Public Library.
Eleven fifth graders — one student from each classroom — was selected to take part in a banquet dinner at the library where the surprise winning announcement took place.
Culver’s in Zion catered the food, and the restaurant also donated free frozen custard for everyone.
Both winners are 10 years old and attend Zion District 6 schools. Shannon attends Shiloh Park Elementary School, while Gloria Rosado is a student at Elmwood.
Some 300 fifth-grade students were asked to answer this years’ essay question: “Who is the kindest person I know in Zion?”
Shannon chose the kindest person he knows in Zion as Mike McCauley, director of the Boys and Girls club in Zion. McCauley was so honored, that he posted a thank you on his Facebook site.
“My heart is filled with love and I am overwhelmed with joy to be honored as one of the kindest persons in Zion. I was truly touched to hear the story that a 5th grader had to say about me, but even more I felt fulfilled to know the impact that I made in this kid’s life,” stated McCauley.
Gloria said Deirdre Garnett, principal of Elmwood Elementary, is the kindest person she knows. Gloria stated in her essay that although others may think the principal is “mean,” Garnett is not. In fact, Gloria sees the principal “always with a smile,” and noted what a good job she does to keep the school in order.
Garnett has been such a big influence to Gloria that the student said she would one day like to “be a principal or teacher.”
“This is special for us, because it gives children an authentic reason to write,” said District 6 Superintendent John Ahlgrim. “The essay always focuses in on kindness and serving others.”
“We get such a kick out of reading those essays,” said Zion Commissioner Shantal Taylor who was instrumental in creating the project with the city’s Human Relations Commission.
“Zion is an under-resourced community,” said Taylor. “About 89.5 percent families of students in the district are at poverty level. No one likes to broadcast that number, but we know literacy does prevent poverty. That’s why we have the program at the library.