Valley students win Kiwanis essay scholarships

Cullen Ferguson
Special to The Black Mountain News

Three area high school seniors received thousands of dollars in college scholarships Oct. 29 for their winning entries in the Black Mountain-Swannanoa Kiwanis Club’s annual Kiwanis World Citizenship Essay Contest.

At its Oct. 29 meeting, Kiwanis awarded the $1,700 first-place scholarship to Brooke Mundy of Owen High School. Leah Williams, also from Owen High, won second place ($1,300), and Bethany Sikkink of Asheville Christian Academy took third-place honors ($1,000). Kiwanis President Carl Bartlett presented the awards after the students read their essays to the Kiwanians.

In her winning essay, Mundy, director of the Owen High Key Club, wrote about her special interest in the Spanish language and culture.

“A world citizen is someone who sees humanity as one group and does not agree with the idea of nationalism, patriotism, racism, or any other segregating ideology,” she said, reading from her essay. “World citizens must see themselves as members of mankind instead of just members of a single country, race, ethnicity or religion.”

Mundy said she hopes to enter the medical field so she can “participate in missions to Spanish-speaking countries and give medical care to those in need.”

Each year early in the school year, the club’s International Understanding Committee sends guidelines for the contest to guidance counselors at the two schools and to the Home School Association. In early October when the essays are collected, the entrants’ names are recorded and then covered, so that the committee’s members don’t know the students’ names or the schools they represent.

This year, 14 essays were submitted. They were evaluated on literary quality, insights into the meaning of world citizenship and personal experience with other cultures through educational opportunities, personal contacts and service. Committee members rank the top five essays. Only after counting the votes does the committee learn the names and schools of the winning students.

Guidance counselors Jennifer Abshire from Owen High and Joe Hagan from Asheville Christian Academy were guests at the Kiwanis meeting.