Biddeford Middle School winner Keyarrah McCurry

Loranger Middle School winner Jesse Rowland

Saco Middle School winner Yaqeen Hasan

St. James School winner Sam Allain

Thornton Academy Middle School winner Florentia ‘Tia’ Mendros

SACO — The 26th Annual Rotary Essay Contest was another eye opening event about the challenges some of our youth are facing. Eighth-grade students from five local middle schools, were asked to write a 500-word essay on the topic, ‘What the Word Family Means to Me’, with the faculty at participating schools judging the essays based on the relevance to the topic, quality of composition, creativity and grammatical and spelling accuracy.

For the second year, a traditional luncheon honoring winning essayists wasn’t possible, so students instead recorded themselves reading their winning essays, and the club created a video presentation of the event. Those students received cash awards, certificates, and a medal.

The first-prize essay winners receive $100, second-place winners, $75 and third-place winners, $50.

The top three winners of the 26th Anniversary Rotary Essay contest, placing from first to third, include:

Biddeford Middle School — Keyarrah McCurry, Eva Aranovitch and Mark Patterson.

Loranger Memorial Middle School, Old Orchard Beach — Jesse Rowland, Joana Massanga and Kylie Mininni.

Saco Middle School — Yaqeen Hasan, April Price and Olivia Smart.

St. James School, Biddeford — Samuel Allain, Anya-Ava Allain and Daphne Blake.

Thornton Academy Middle School, Saco — Florentia “Tia” Mendros, Cora Thomas and MacKenna Durkee.

Students, their families, school staff and Rotarians were invited to view the video presentation of the event on Wednesday evening. “It was quite a moving experience hearing from the youth. It was powerful,” sai Bill Paterson, a Rotarian with the club.

Co-chair of the event, Brenda Pollock said, “This is always one of the favorite events the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club sponsors each year. We’ve already begun planning an in person event for June 8, 2022. We want to give the students who were limited to a virtual event, an opportunity for a live experience. The 27th Annual Rotary Essay event will honor the winners from the 25th, 26th and 27th Annual events. It will be phenomenal”.

To view the 26th Annual Rotary Essay Contest on You Tube, go to:

For more information on the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club and how to become a Rotarian, go to: or on Facebook: Rotary Club of Biddeford-Saco.

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