For Audubon Elementary third-grader Kimberley Hiatt, respect is feeling good about yourself and others.
“If I were a flower, I would want to be respected and not picked. If I wanted to be respected, I would respect others,” she writes.
For Audubon sixth-grader Jessica Learnard, respect “means that you care for the world by not throwing garbage on the ground or wrecking landmarks or wrecking parks.”
Those two students were among 17 chosen by school officials and community leaders as winners in an essay contest on the theme of respect.
The contest was part of an overall campaign to raise the issue of personal responsibility and respect among residents of the West Central neighborhood. The Neighborhood Education Team, an informal group of school principals and community leaders, organized the activities, which included a school play about respect, discussions, and the essays.
Winners in the essay contest each received a $50 savings bond.
At Holmes and Audubon schools, the essays were in longhand and accompanied by line drawings and sometimes pictures. At North Central High School, many were typed on computers.
Still, the essays showed that even younger students understand what respect is and why it’s important.
“Most kids really do understand personal responsibility and respect,” said Lori Dolan, the school district administrator for the area. “You never hear about the 95 percent who do, just the 5 percent who don’t.”
“If there was no such thing as respect, we would have more crime and violence,” wrote Holmes thirdgrader Abigail Knight. “It would be all right to rob banks and steal. Policemen would be out of their jobs because no one would respect them.”
Holmes fifth-grader Richae White said, “Being respectful also means doing things right, and only if you feel comfortable. If you don’t feel comfortable about something, don’t do it.”
“Today disrespect for authority is common,” wrote Ashley Cantu, a Holmes fourth-grader. “It begins with a lack of self-respect. It then travels to disrespect for parents, grandparents, teachers and officers of the law.”
According to Erika Renford, a North Central freshman, “Another way to show respect is by not putting people down. When this happens feelings get hurt. It also encourages that person to do the same. Before someone decides to put others down, they should think about how they would feel if the positions were reversed.”
Sophomore Michelle Gallegos said respect is important for little things as well.
“We are well on our way with pride and respect within the community,” she said. Yet “there is some work still needed, like the path between North Central and McDonald’s. The litter problem can become atrocious.
“We can fix this by simply showing some respect and using a garbage can.” , DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: ESSAY WINNERS Holmes Elementary: Tran Tran, Heather Passmore, Abigail Knight, Ashley Cantu, Richae White and Latrece Hopkins. Audubon Elementary: David Biles, Flelicia Kinder, Kimberley Hiatt, Jessica Pabian and Jessica Learnard. Glover Middle School: Tara Skanks and Brian Edwards. North Central High School: Erika Renford, Julia Khala, Michelle Gallegos and Jason Newton.