Ashland Kiwanis for the third year sponsored an essay contest for fifth grade students in Ashland’s elementary schools. Last year’s topic was an essay about their favorite American president. This year Kiwanis asked the students to write about their favorite person, and why. John Muir School participated in this year. Because their fourth and fifth grades are combined into one class room, prizes were awarded to students from each class.

The first place winner from the fifth grade is Syphire Lee, who wrote about “My Sister — Maya.” The first-place winner from the fourth grade was Jax North, who wrote about “My Grammie,” and the second-place winner from the fourth grade was Lyric Belan, who wrote about “My Electric Dad.”

Russ Chadick from the Kiwanis Club presented the awards. The first place winners for each class received a $50 gift certificate to the Tree House Bookstore in Ashland, with the second place winner receiving a $20 gift certificate. Each winning student also received a Certificate of Achievement.

Principal Rebecca Gyarmathy says: “This is the first year John Muir has participated in the essay contest. My students were super excited to participate and many of my fourth graders took their essays very seriously and took them home and worked on them independently. They love that an outside community group is 'judging' their essays and that there are winners. They kept bugging me 'when are then coming? When are they coming?' I love that Russ respects the students and gets them excited about writing. Kiwanis gave out awards in frames and signed by the president of the club, Ron Parker. They make it a big deal and the kids feel honored and respected. I am looking forward to participating in the future and love the positive impact Kiwanis makes in our schools.”

For information about Ashland Kiwanis, visit, go to its Facebook Page, or call Ron at 541-488-0532.