|Inaugural Guthrie Family Essay Contest winners
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO
Winners in the inaugural Guthrie Family Essay Contest for middle and high school students in the Parkrose School District have been announced.
The writing competition, co-presented by SnowCap Community Charities and Parkrose School District, was based on the theme, Why is volunteering in my community important?
Longtime Parkrose resident Jerry Guthrie, in honor of his late wife, Betty, provided prize money totaling $925. Guthrie is the retired owner of Guthrie Machinery Co. in the Parkrose area.
The Guthrie family has a history of volunteerism and philanthropy in both public and community service projects, including major involvement in the Nature Conservancy.
First prize of $150 in the middle school competition went to eighth-grader Kenton Falbo. Eighth-grader Irina Litvinenko and seventh-grader Justine Shepard each received $75 for second place entries.
Five third-place awards of $25 each were presented to eighth-graders Shalee Weatherill, Kevin Lowe and Jenna Worden and sixth-graders Evelyn Perez and Juan Ramirez.
High school awards went to sophomore Caitlyn OMealy, who received $250; junior Jacquelle Davis, $150; freshman Lily Rojas and senior Chaleigha Lewis, $50 each.
Essays by the middle school entrants were 500 words, and the high school entries were 1,000 words.
SnowCap Executive Director Judy Alley said she hopes the essay event becomes an annual scholastic contest. We know middle and high school students are concerned with their community and often volunteer for a variety of projects. This project offers an opportunity to make their ideas known.
SnowCap is a faith-based, nonprofit agency that provides food, clothing, energy assistance, language instruction and advocacy for low-income families and individuals in mid and east Multnomah County.
Judges for the contest were Alley; Carolyn Schell, former head librarian at the Midland branch of the Multnomah County Library; Clare and Sharon Mershon, Parkrose area residents; Doug Porter, Portland public relations consultant; Robert Edwards, retired educator with the David Douglas School District; and Lou Sohn, financial consultant, SnowCap board member, and former educator.
Just a day in the park: An imaginative essay
Parkrose High School SOPHOMORE
A black asphalt path lazily cut its way through the oppressive area, its paved surface cracked and dusty. A lone wooden bench sat at the paths side, all but one of its worn boards broken; the single surviving board bore a faded line of black and red spray paint the result of some local vandals. Similarly, the wooden sign, which stood at the beginning of the despairing parks lonely path, was graffitied as well, its original painted words having almost completely worn away.
The clump of a dozen or so people who stood in the miserable-looking lot did not remain standing for long. One man, an older gentleman in a clean but faded shirt and a pair of dark jeans, quickly parceled out the work, assigning tasks to each of the assembled people. He made sure the youngest members of the group received jobs too, lest they feel left out or unhelpful.
For example, two or three of the youngest children were soon running about, enthusiastically picking up bits of trash and litter, stuffing their gatherings into large black garbage bags. The small boys and girls would gleefully chase the old candy wrappers and bits of paper that were dancing about in the gentle summer breeze. From the smiles upon their faces, it could have been chocolate-filled plastic eggs they eagerly gathered a game of seeking played as part of Easter celebrations.
At the side of the path, a rather tall young man set to work on the damaged bench, methodically unbolting the remaining pieces of board from the iron frame. A yard or so away, the man who had organized the group used a handheld power drill to place holes in the wood of several new boards. When each had completed his job, the two guys worked together to bolt the new pieces of wood onto the old iron frame.
Two of the older children those with the adequate reservoirs of strength used a pair of shovels to dig around the long-since dead saplings, which had only added to the forlorn appearance of the area. Beside them stood two saplings, broad-leafed maples that would grow fast and provide shade in future summers. The roots of the new miniature trees were wrapped in bags of burlap to keep them from drying out. It did not take tong for the teens to dig down and pry out the withered and shrunken bits of dead wood and to dig properly sized holes needed to fit the root bundles of the waiting trees.
To one side of the small park a pair of women, one in her mid twenties and the other nearly sixty kneeled at the edge of a strip of freshly cleared ground. Sharing a hand trowel between the two of them, the women worked to place flowering plants, many of them bulbs that would multiply as time passed. The colors collaborated and grew as the day wore on the yellow of daffodils, purple hyacinths, and tulips in a wide variety of colors. As the older woman continued planting the bulbs, the younger, blond woman also placed small Vinca minor plants in the ground. These would soon grow into an evergreen groundcover with the extra bonus of producing light purple flowers for a lengthy portion of the year.
One little girl in a light blue dress carried a watering can from plant to plant, dutifully watering each individual flower (as well as the front of her dress). Emptying the last of her water over the nodding head of a tulip, she ran to refill the container and continued watering. This time she began with the new, very much alive saplings, which had just been lowered gently into their respective holes and had the dirt replaced around them, with a sprinkling of fertilizer.
A young boy, who looked to be near the fourth grade, helped his father paint the bench that had been rebuilt by the two men. While the older of the two finished putting the final coat on the seating area, the child ran to the entrance of the park and painted over the spray-paint engulfed sign. After the green paint had dried, one of the women who had earlier been planting bits of new growth, painted over the words, which had originally been engraved into the wood. As she stood and left, the name of the park stood out in fresh, white paint.
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