For the third year in a row, Marymount of Santa Barbara fifth-graders won top prizes for the annual Rotary Club writing contest open to entrants from schools across the county.

Years 2010 and 2013 proved to be especially good for Marymount in that the school swept first prizes and distinguished itself not only for students’ ability to write well, but also by the fact that the students exemplary essays show the value of both the H.E. A. R.T. (Honesty, Enthusiasm Altruism, Responsibility and Teamwork) Program and Marymount’s fully integrated Ethical Culture Model designed to help students become productive, responsible community members and reach their own personal potential, or, as Marymount puts it, “help each student to become his or her very best self.”

The subject of the annual essays submitted for the contest is tied into a hallmark of the Rotary Club known as the Four-Way Test. The Four-Way Test ensures that Rotarians consider the following questions when taking any action or making decisions:

» Is it the TRUTH?

» Is it FAIR to all concerned?


» Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

National Rotary leader Lars-Olof Fredricksson wrote, “Today, it is especially confusing to determine what is really right and wrong. But the fundamentals of Rotary are bound to universal ethics and humanity without any boundaries between race, religion or ethnic background.”

The writing assignment aligns well with Marymount’s philosophy and desire to teach students to think more deeply about their personal decisions in everyday life. Lower School world religions teacher Kari Figgins collaborated with fourth-grade teacher Karen Robertson and fifth-grade teacher Ann Padden Rubin to engage students in a writing process that included peer editing and lively classroom discussion.

“I’m so proud of our kids and our school,” Figgins said.

Head of School Andrew Wooden attended the award ceremony that honored Marymount fifth-grade student writers Theo Mack, Timothy Chadwick and Adeila Hubbard at the May 17 lunch at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort for winners and finalists. Mack’s essay won a first-prize distinction for the Santa Barbara Rotary Club as well as second place for the entire district. This district honor is a first for the Santa Barbara Rotary Club.

Marymount is an independent coeducational school, junior kindergarten through eighth grade, on a picturesque 10-acre campus nestled on the Santa Barbara Riviera. Building on a 75-year tradition of excellence, the educators at Marymount have crafted a unique learning experience that blends mastery of core subjects with acquisition of the essential skills students need to navigate and be successful in a rapidly evolving world.

— Molly Seguel is the admissions director for Marymount of Santa Barbara.