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Rotary Happenings: Rotary recognizes winners of annual 4-Way Test Essay contest

By Staff | Apr 9, 2019


Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club’s meeting on March 29 was dedicated to The Sanibel School student winners of our 2019 Rotary 4-Way Test Essay contest. Essay Chairman Chet Sadler stated, “Over the past six years the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary has challenged the eighth-graders at The Sanibel School to write an essay using the Rotary 4-Way Test as the foundation of a composition. Over 35 students submitted an essay this year. The students were challenged to consider a problem or conflict faced by teenagers or young people in their age group, perhaps a dilemma they have faced personally, or and issue facing our community, school, team, club or friends.”

The Rotary 4-Way Test Of the things we think, say or do:

– Is it the truth?

– Is it fair to all concerned?

– Will it build goodwill and better friendships?


– Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is the 4-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor, who later served as the Rotary International president. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, the 4-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways.

Sanibel Language Arts teacher JP Martin served as a mentor to this voluntary writing challenge. The winner of this year’s first place award was Lilly Doster. Her well written essay on “A New Perspective” of how social media plays into the life of eighth-grade students explained the need of adults to understand what social media really is today. She points out that the community can connect and be more together without being “physically together.” Second place went to Bryden Williams for his essay addressing the “poor management of Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades.” Working together to redirect the water releases and stop the pollution is needed. Third prize went to Colin Menzel for his essay on “Discrimination.” Whether it is the extremely high – 47 percent – of wrongful convictions of African Americans or attacks on Muslim’s after Sept. 11, Collin urges us all to work together to eliminate discrimination to “make our country better.”

The essays are an opportunity to make the four principals of the 4-Way Test part of the students lives now and into the future.

A brief snippet from each of the essays:


– “A New Perspective,” by Lilly Doster – So our community doesn’t understand that social media (If they accept it) can help them to get all of us more connected in the community. So our older generation isn’t wrong that we are on social media a lot but they are wrong about the fact that “It can’t do any good.” Being scared of new things is not good for our community. Rotary Principle Will it build goodwill and better friendship? The answer to that is yes, social media can build goodwill and better friendship.

– “Conflicts with Lake Okeechobee,” by Bryden Williams – The unnatural freshwater discharges from Lake O cause much damage to our very sensitive estuary ecosystems. As a result, blue-green algae and red tide blooms kill wildlife all around the southwest Florida area. For example, in the recent summer of 2018, the Sanibel area experienced a disastrous red tide crisis, which killed much of our precious wildlife. This impacted friends, family, my community, and me significantly. We can use the Four-Way Test to try and resolve it. Is it the truth? Yes, this is the truth; this truth has killed fish, caused people to lose income, and caused extreme damage to the natural ecosystem. This is not a truth that can just be ignored, something has to be done.

– “Discrimination,” by Colin Menzel – The Four-Way Test could prove to many Americans that everyone is equal, and physical appearance can’t alter a human’s significance. Asking questions to not just yourself, but to society itself such as “Is this fair to everyone?”. People can ask these questions, and realize that we are all people, and everybody should be equal. It is not fair to blame a whole group for something that a few people did in that group. People can create equality all around the country and end discrimination.

It was note-worthy that our club invited not only the essay contest winners to our Rotary Club breakfast for the reading of their essays but the school principal, Martin, parents and siblings. The school entourage numbered around 14 and along with Rotarians in attendance encouraged the students going forward to use these ethnical guidelines throughout their lives; knowing yourself and your strength to analyze situations and hold yourself accountable to serve a better purpose in life and solve problems, not make them.

For information about the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel; visitors are welcome to attend.