Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Triumvirate Writing Class Pens Top 3 Essays in Optimist Contest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Triumvirate Writing Class Pens Top 3 Essays in Optimist Contest

Article excerpt

Three students in a college composition class at St. Charles High School won the top three honors in an annual essay contest sponsored by the St. Charles Noonday Optimist Club. They wrote on whether freedom is a right or a privilege.

St. Charles High seniors Tara Price, Chad Wiegmann and Audrey Sparrow won first, second and third place, respectively. Tara's entry will be sent on to the district competition, where the winner will be given an expenses-paid trip in July to the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Pa., for a four-day conference on leadership and freedom.

"When we get one winner, it is a great honor, but to come up with three," said Gary McKiddy, the students' teacher and English department chairman, "we're just as thrilled as we can be."

McKiddy requires the students in his three college composition classes to enter at least one writing contest annually. Students learn to meet deadlines and write for someone besides their teachers and other students, McKiddy said.

In the past, students have entered contests sponsored by Phi Delta Kappa, a garden club, the Ayn Rand Foundation, Friends of the Missouri University Library, and Guideposts.

As for the recent essay contest, McKiddy's students approached the subject individually. "I always let them be as creative as possible. I don't control their content in any way," said McKiddy, who works with the students "strictly on form and structure."

Tara said she saw freedom as a privilege. "I don't think it is a God-given right," she said. "Sometimes people use the word `freedom' as something that nobody has a right to abuse, but it goes hand in hand with responsibility," she said.

Asked if she did much research for her essay, Tara said she "sat at home about two or three nights and talked with my mom about how I really felt, I honestly felt about it. I didn't borrow any words. …

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