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Local students win Rotary Club’s ‘Four-Way Test’ essay contest 

Rotary Club of Paso Robles Logo

–The Rotary Club of Paso Robles recently received and reviewed nearly 150 essays submitted by students at Paso Robles High School for the club’s annual Four-Way Test Essay Contest. The students were asked to write about how the test could be used in their own lives.

The Four-Way Test is:

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

The winning essay was written by Sarah Krumme, who will receive a prize of $100. Her entry will now move on to the Rotary District 5240 competition, where she could win an additional prize of $300.

Sarah Krumme

Sarah Krumme.

Additional winners were: Tyler Seidel (2nd), Sophia Mullinix (3rd), Jillian Root (4th), and Jesse Muth, Jovani Ramirez, and Marissa Gomez (tied for 5th). All will be receiving monetary awards.

Tyler Seidel

Tyler Seidel.

The Rotary Club gives special thanks to the teachers who encouraged their students to participate, including Kevin LeClair, Janice Hoy, Matt Carroll, Jenny Martinez, and Aaron Cantrell.

Ten local Rotarians read and judged the essays. Each had a set of 14-15 essays to read. From that group, each submitted one to three essays that they liked best. The resulting 29 essays were redistributed to all of the reviewers. Each reviewer then chose their top five essays from the group, giving them one to five points, five being best. Sixteen of the 29 students received points from one or more reviewers. All point totals were then compiled. The local Rotarian judges included Bob Fonarow, Sharon Ross, Stu Ross, Joe Irick, Rex Thornhill, Gail Tannehill-Lloyd, Kathy Tucker, Don Keefer, Nic Mattson, Jim Brescia, and Linda Midkiff.

Here is the winning essay:

Becoming Better Together

By Sarah Krumme

Sit back for a moment, and envision a society, a world where everyone confronts problems with the intentions of using equality, empathy, kindness, and fellowship to fix them. That was an excellent vision that can become our reality. The question is, how do we achieve it? Many people worldwide advocate for a kinder, better way of life where relationships regarding politics, business, foreign affairs, or merely close friendships can blossom under healthy conditions. While holding others accountable is essential, world change starts from within. How can I, how can we, as the people of America, the people of this Earth, better ourselves to form healthier long-term relationships with those around us? We hold ourselves accountable for what we do, say, and think. How we interact with others is our key to building those dream relationships that will lead to kinder, more honest ways of living for all. Altering our natural way of thinking, speaking, and acting can initially seem overwhelming, but advancing those daily processes can be broken down by the Four-Way Test.

Step One: To become a more considerate person in your relationships, you must begin by building a personal moral love for truth. The truth may not always be pretty or what anyone wants to hear, but trust is an integral part of any relationship you want to build. A relationship without sturdy faith in each other’s word is an unsteady bridge waiting to collapse. In a sticky situation, you may feel the urge to hide the ugly truth, just for a little bit, to not hurt the other person. No matter how tempted you may be to sweep the facts under a rug to hide it, remember this: trust is a crucial bond to any relationship, and this bond can easily break. Do not risk your relationships’ trust over a moment’s temptation; make sure your thoughts, words, and actions reflect the truth.

Step Two: Eat, sleep, and breath equality. Being fair to everyone in a situation shows that you care equally about all of your relationships involved. Unexplained and excessive favoritism can establish you as an inconsiderate person while burning down relationship bridges you have already formed. When faced with a situation concerning multiple people, take extra caution to be self-aware of if what you are about to do, think, say, or choose is fair for all concerned. If you realize that what you were about to proceed with is not equitable to all concerned, form a different action plan. Treating everyone the way you would wish for them to treat you if they were to be in your position is generally an excellent way to go forward.

Step 3: Involve kind intentions behind every word, thought, and action you make. Often people develop a habit of speaking, thinking, and acting without knowing what leads them to behave like that. Taking a brief moment to self-reflect on what intentions lead you to the habits you have now will help you realize which patterns to cut and keep in your interactions with people. The main point is to speak, act, and think with the intention that what you are doing will build goodwill and better friendships. If your intentions are undecided or corrupt, what you are about to do will not lead to a good result.

Step 4: Consider this: is what you are about to proceed with going to be what is best for everyone in the situation, not merely you? If your inner mission is to create better relationships, but your choices, actions, thoughts, and words do not result in benefiting anyone else than yourself, there is simply no reason to speak, think, or act in the first place. There is no room for selfishness in a healthy relationship, so before you go onwards, consider how the result will benefit everyone concerned.

This Four-Way test is a manual to build healthy, honest, self-accountable relationships throughout all that you do in life. When followed, these steps can help transform your way of living. The world we envisioned earlier can be our reality, as long we all apply these steps to ourselves intending to be better for each other.

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