Students win community essay contest

Two students from Gunnison Valley Middle School won cash awards for themselves and their school at a Utah League of Cities and Towns 2019 essay contest. Pictured from (L to R) are Debbie Pike, Gunnison Middle School teacher; Mary Carter, first-place winner, Caitlin Watkins, third-place winner; Aaron Peterson, Mayfield City Council Member; Josh Fako, Maverik; and Nick Jarvis, Utah League of Cities and Towns


Students win community essay contest



Three Sanpete County students were given high honors for writing the best essays on “Why I Like My Community.”

The 2019 essay contest was sponsored by the Utah League of Cities and Towns and the winning entries were chosen from students throughout Utah.

The contest was divided into two classifications—one from the fourth grade and the other from the seventh grade.

In the fourth-grade division, Vierra Powell of Manti from Manti Elementary School took second place. In the seventh-grade division, Mary Carter of Centerfield from Gunnison Valley Middle School took first place; and Caitlin Watkins of Mayfield from Gunnison Valley Middle School brought home the third place prize.

Students were encouraged to write about the unique elements of their hometown and a panel of judges read through all submissions and selected the top three based on several criteria such as creative thinking, correct grammar, spelling, structure and essay development, said Susan Wood director of communications at ULCT.

Cash awards were given to the students and their respective schools in the following amounts. First place, $100 for the student and $1,000 to the school. Second place, $75 for the student and $750 for the school. Third place, $50 for the student and $500 for the school.

Other award winners in the fourth grade were first place, Benjer Philpot of Bountiful from Muir Elementary and third place tie, Eleanor Armour and Ashlyn Johnson, both of St. George from Sunset Elementary. In the seventh grade division, Harrison Thomas of Holladay from Olympus Junior High School took second place.

The ULTC recognized the winners at its annual convention Sept. 13 at the downtown Salt Lake Sheraton Hotel with a special presentation and a tribute highlight video. Two of the Sanpete winners are interviewed and featured on the video. It can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSz7JAsUjXo.

Attendees included mayors, council members, and department heads from throughout Utah’s 248 cities and towns, Wood said.

First place winner Mary Carter of Centerfield wrote an essay entitled the “Valley I Call Home.” She wrote, “From the people, to the farms, to the beautiful, lush, green mountains, these are my favorite parts of my valley. The people in this town aren’t just my neighbors, they’re my family, and my closest friends. They’re the most selfless people I know. If you’re in trouble, pain, or devastation, they’ll rush to help. Everyone knows each other like siblings here. We know each other’s name, families, homes, and personalities.”

Third place winner Caitlin Watkins of Mayfield wrote about “My Perfect Paradise Community.” Her essay started out, “I didn’t realize that four years ago I would be moving to my dream paradise. Some people wish to go to their dream destination like Hawaii or Paris. My paradise is the place where I made memories, achieved some of my greatest goals, and found the people that have been there for me in the time that I have lived here. I like to call my community my home and paradise because of the people, incredible outdoor activities to me, and the small town I live in, where there’s hardly any traffic.”

Second place winner and fourth-grade student Vierra Powell from Manti wrote, “When I open the door on a bright spring morning, I see the flowers looking up at me. I squint at the shining sun in my eyes, it is smiling warmly down on me. I smell and feel the fragrance that springs bring. Manti is home. The sky, the sun and the birds make me feel good. I love Manti, where my family and friends are.”

Manti Elementary School student Vierra Powell took home second place in an essay contest. Pictured from (L to R) are her parents Kevin and Rebecca Powell, Vierra Powell and Korry Soper, Manti Mayor