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Serena Thornburg wins Rotary District Essay Contest

Rotary Club of Tehachapi


Serena Thornburg was presented with a special award for winning the Rotary District 5240 Essay Contest during the Rotary Club of Tehachapi's meeting on June 6.

Club President Paul Kaminski introduced Jacque Jans, executive assistant governor for Rotary District 5240 and member of the Rotary Club of Bakersfield West, who made the presentation. After winning the essay contest at the local level, Serena went on to win the Middle School Division of the contest, competing against winners from 70 other clubs in the District. Jans presented Serena with a $500 check for her accomplishment. Serena is a 6th grader at Jacobsen Middle School and was accompanied to the meeting by her proud parents, Paul and Nena Thornburg.

The essay contest is an annual event, and Serena won by writing about Rotary's "Four-Way Test." The Four-Way Test is an ethical guide that Rotarians use for professional/personal relationships and decision-making, to self-evaluate what one thinks, says or does. Jans shared the thoughtful conclusion of Serena's essay, which said:

"At the end of the day, the Four-Way Test applies to much of what we do and say. The Four-Way Test has taught me to be kind and helpful, but also to learn from my mistakes. It has taught me not to strive to be perfect, but rather to strive to be my best self. The Four-Way Test has helped me realize that being honest in my actions and admitting my mistakes can help me build trust and accept consequences; considering fairness helps me be more empathetic and inclusive; participating in service projects helps me feel more connected to my peers and builds my sense of community; and lastly, by considering how my actions can impact others, it helps me choose actions that benefit everyone. After all, there is no greater reward than helping others. The Four-Way Test is a tool that will continue to help me navigate this complex world as I continue to grow and strive to be better and help make positive contributions to my community."

Jans stated, "With words like these, Serena gives me hope in our young people and for the future of our country. This is an amazing accomplishment!"

Jans also shared that Serena won the Elementary School Division of the Rotary District 5240 Essay Contest last year as well, saying, "She is a talented writer."

The Tehachapi Rotary Club meets at noon every Thursday at Kelcy's. Rotary is committed to "Service Above Self," and devotes time and resources to projects in the local community, scholarships for college-bound high school seniors, and supporting global efforts for polio eradication. For more information about the Rotary Club, you can visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Rotary/ClubofTehachapi/.