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Rotary II Members Get Advice from Students


Oct. 26, 20005 – Rotary II members got some advice about living life on their own terms Wednesday. And that advice came from an unlikely source.
Twelve-year-old Delma Laurent, just beginning the 7th grade at Addelita Cancryn Junior High School, told the group how she applies the principals of Rotary's 4-Way-Test in her life, and gave suggestions to her audience.
The Rotary 4-Way-Test:
– Is it the truth?
– Is it fair to all concerned?
– Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
– Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Laurent won out over 25 other students in all three grades at the school in an essay contest sponsored by the club in observance of Rotary's Vocational Service Month. Cancryn is the club's adopted school.
The young winner had a hard act to follow. Eleanor Thraen, Rotary II past president and a retired community leader who has a few decades on Laurent, was first invited to give brief remarks on how she applies the four-way test in her life.
However, Laurent held her own. Stepping up to the microphone, the 12-year-old paused, seeming to gauge her audience, and then with a slightly nervous smile she greeted one and all and jumped right in.
"Every one of us has a part to play in this world," she began. "It is our responsibility to do what is right and treat others how we would like to be treated. If we don't make it our business to do what is right, the violence in this world will not decrease."
Laurent's essay was serious in intent, but it held elements long forgotten by most of the adult audience, prompting bursts of laughter.
About fairness, Laurent said, "To be fair, I will make sure I don't harm others….Being fair in school will mean that I won't cut the lunchroom lines, and I will do all my exercises for P.E. so my classmates aren't stuck doing everything."
She concluded, "We must try to put ourselves in second place at times, because it is the unselfish thing to do." Looking gravely at her audience, she said, "I plan to do my part, do you?"
Laurent was joined by her parents, her English teacher and Yvonne Pilgrim, Cancryn principal, each of whom had a few words to say.
Teacher Barbara Bailey, a 34-year veteran of Cancryn who had previously been honored by Rotary for her work, praised her new student's ability. Parents Wiselyn and Derrick Laurent were beaming. Though her mother was a bit shy, Delma Laurent's father Derrick Laurent said, "I'm so proud to be here. I've always taught her to be a leader." And, he added, "I give her $20 for each A."
Thanking Rotary for its abiding interest in Cancryn, Pilgrim said the students were very interested in the contest.
"Each school team had contestants,"she said, "and they all wanted to win. I saw a girl in the hall the other day and she asked me if anyone had won. When I said 'yes,' she asked, "Is it me?' " Smiling, Pilgrim said, "I had to tell her, 'maybe next year.'"
Laurent later talked about studying for the essay. "Yes, I did have some help," she said. "My sister, Shanelle, helped me. She is 18, and a freshman at UVI." It was obvious that Laurent's words came from her heart; perhaps the mechanics of putting it all together came from her sister? She wasn't saying.
Laurent, who graduated from J. Antonio Jarvis elementary school earlier this year, won an achievement certificate from Rotary II, a $150 Office Max gift certificate, and a 4-Way-Test pen. Each of the other contestants received a pen and a letter commending their entries.
Cassandra Mallory, the club's vocational director, and her committee, put the contest together.
The essays were judged on adherence to the 4-Way-Test theme, clarity, coherence, mechanics, personal style and originality. They had to be at least 100 words, but no longer than 250 words.
Mallory said Laurent will be a guest on Rotary's weekly one-hour radio show at 8 a.m. Saturday on Radio One WVWI.


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