The Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cites
Kimberly White, Second Place
Grade 7, Paulding Middle School
Teacher: Mr. Vanderweide
Natalie always ate her lunch alone. She always walked to her classroom alone. She most definitely spent her break time alone. This is how she preferred it. She would rather be alone by herself than around kids that picked on her for what she wore, teased her for being so tall or made up stories about her because they never bothered to get to know her. She felt is was better that way. Well I do not! This kind of school life really makes me upset! I want everyone to feel special; to feel liked and treated fairly! The Rotary 4 way test is a tool that I can use and teach at my school to help make sure everyone gets the respect they deserve.
I am on the Student Council at my school this year and one of the reasons that I wanted to be a part of it is because I want everyone to love school as much as I do. While it’s true that teachers care about us all, I think that it is up to the students to make school feel like a safe place. It is our job to care about each other. The Rotary 4 way test is a perfect guideline to use to remember how to do just that everyday. The rules of the 4 way test are simple: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? They can help make life extraordinary at school and beyond.
The first rule, Is it truthful?, is so very important! Rumors and lies can be very hurtful and even dangerous. They lead to misunderstandings and can ruin friendships and self esteem. Friendships are crucial in making us feel loved and safe. I feel really lucky to have the friends I have. I couldn’t imagine them not being in my life. Sure there are misunderstandings and little fights but if we remember to use the Rotary rule then we can talk to each other and work our problems out before any rumors can start. Truth makes it possible to go to school and not be afraid of what others are saying. Truth always wins!
Secondly, Is it fair to all concerned?, is a rule that can make or break a great school. Fairness is making sure no one feels left out or scared that they are not good enough. It means including everyone no matter how good they are at something. I am terrible at basketball. I mean REALLY terrible! But I know that it is okay because my friends don’t care. I can make them laugh. At the same time, I am really good at soccer and it makes me happy to teach kids the moves I know that they might not. I want to be a good example to my friends. I make sure I encourage others and not make fun of them. Partly because it is the right thing to do but mostly because it is the way that I want to be treated. If everyone at school remembered that they have gifts to share and skills to learn then school would be so much more gratifying! We can all try new things and not worry about being perfect. Because truth is, NO ONE is perfect!
Thirdly, Will it build goodwill and better friendships? This is my favorite question out of all of the Rotary 4 way test questions because I like my surroundings to be easy going and comfortable. That can only happen in an atmosphere of goodwill towards each other. I want my school to be a place to share positive experiences in an environment free from violence and hostility. It makes better sense and reinforces better friendships. Middle school should be a time when we come together and cheer on our sports teams (Go Patriots!). We should be applauding our academic teams like Mock Trial (who won first place this year for the first time in 10 years!) Goodwill toward my classmates is essential for a school year full of memories that we can all look back on with a smile. It makes everyone feel like their contributions matter because no contribution is too small. The 4 way test is perfect for building goodwill with those around me. It helps me develop relationships that will make school life much more enjoyable. Even the boys are my friends because I think about what would make them comfortable around me. The answer I found was super easy: high fives! It helps create good will. I have become friends with so many. I also always try to say hi to everyone, too. It’s amazing how remembering their name and simply saying hello can make someone feel appreciated!
Lastly, Will it be beneficial to all?. This rule is what makes our school more than just a place to learn. It makes our school a community. To be beneficial to all, school has to be a place where you respect others. It can be as simple as inviting someone that usually sits alone to eat with you and your friends at lunch or offering to help a classmate get their stubborn lock open on their locker. It means not gossiping or teasing someone for any reason. I try to make a difference in one person’s life everyday whether it is helping to carry something heavy, helping with a math problem or simply saying hello. Kindness is always beneficial! It makes a community one that I want to live in and a school one that I want to attend. The Rotary 4 way test is a guide for me to use to help my school be the best school on the Central Coast and make sure no one feels like Natalie does – ever!