The Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club has honored winners for its 24th annual essay contest. First-place winners, from left, are Lizzie Johnson of Loranger Middle School, Mackenzie Day of Biddeford Middle School, Marielle Rue of St. James School, Antonia Farago-Dumsch of Saco Middle School, and Jack Tripp of Thornton Academy Middle School. SUBMITTED PHOTO

SACO — “Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten” A quote from the Disney Classic Lilo and Stitch was how first-place winner Lizzie Johnson started off her essay quote about “What the Word Family Means to Me.”

This was the prompt for the 24th annual Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club essay contest where eighth-grade students from Biddeford, Saco, and Old Orchard Beach were asked to write a 500 word essay and were judged on the relevance to the topic, quality of composition, creativity, and grammatical and spelling accuracy. Three winners were selected from each school with the first place winners receiving a medal and $100 prize as well as being invited to read their winning essay to the Biddeford-Saco Rotarians.

“Our goal is to promote the significance of family. Families are the compass that guides us and points us in the right direction,” said Rotarian Brenda Pollock.

Rotarians enjoyed listening to the group of winners talk about why family is important to them and the different ways family has supported them. From loving moments, to sticking by their side on the darkest of days, it was clear to hear the love and passion that the students put into words as they each read the winning essays.

The first-place winners in this year’s Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club Essay Contest are Mackenzie Day of Biddeford Middle School, Lizzie Johnson of Loranger Middle School, Antonia Farago-Dumsch of Saco Middle School, Marielle Rue of St. James School, and Jack Tripp of Thornton Academy Middle School.

Other students also received $75 or $50 prizes for their essays including Camryn Blatchford and Alex Nguyen of Loranger Middle School, Casey Ouellette and Ivy Turbide of Thornton Academy Middle School, Olivia Toppen and Alexyia Talarico of Saco Middle School, Madisyn Ayers and Rose-Mary Blake of St. James School, and Brittany Baumgardner and Cecelia Keller of Biddeford Middle School.

For more information about how to become involved with the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club, visit www.biddeford-sacorotary.org