By Sue Whitaker—
MUNCIE, IN—The Muncie Altrusa Club hosted the winners of the Annual 4th Grade Essay Contest on March 16th at a luncheon at the Minnetrista Center. The winners of the essay contest were Laynie McGuire, Albany Elementary; Shadow Hanser, Burris; Tahj Johnson, East Washington Academy; Selena Thomas, Royerton Elementary; Milyn Douthitt, Selma Elementary; and Abigail Byrd, Yorktown Elementary.
Each student read their essay titled: “The Book that Changed my Life…” to the assembled group. Following the reading each student was presented with a certificate, a backpack filled with books and school supplies, and a gift card. Accompanying the students to the event was their classroom teacher, a school administrator, and parents. Each winning student’s teacher also received a gift card. To close the meeting the winners, lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The winners were selected from over 280 student essays from 16 4th grade classrooms in the Muncie and Delaware County elementary schools. Altrusa members selected three essays from each of the classrooms which were then given to retired Ball State University Elementary Education professor Dr. Kay Stickle who made the selection of the six winners.
Literacy has been a primary focus of the Muncie Altrusa club since its beginning in 1923. Altrusa’s first Essay contest was held in 1987.
The club’s dedication to service to the Muncie community and Delaware County is carried out through projects that encourage literacy and serve women and children. Current projects include:
- 4th Grade Essay Contest
- Completed the Altrusa International Foundation Grant by distributing 5800 books to the Pre-K – 5th grade students in the Muncie Elementary Schools, Burris Laboratory School, St. Michael Catholic School, and Inspire Academy
- Muncie Children’s Museum – Recorded readings for their website, read at the Elf Adventure, and doing Bingo for Books on Free Saturdays this spring
- Little Free Libraries – maintain and kept filled with books
- BSU Homecoming parade book distribution – helped to distributed 5000 books
- School Snack Attack Program at winter and spring breaks for selected Muncie elementary schools (1680 snacks were distributed)
- Muncie Soup Kitchen Lunch Program – 4 times this year
- Participated in a Women’s Build with Habitat for Humanity
- A Soldier’s Hands – members wrote over 70 notes to soldiers that were sent overseas
- Holiday gift cards for Veterans in Delaware County
Sue Whitaker chairs the club’s Literacy Committee and Tanya Shaneyfelt chaired the Essay Contest.