East Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (ETALA) today announced the winners of its fourth annual essay contest for area sixth and seventh graders. Winners in each grade will receive a $500 savings bond with runner-ups receiving a $100 savings bond.
This year's winners in the 6th grade category are in first place Story Sasseen with runner up Cassity Irvin, both of Hallsville Middle School. It was announced that the first place winner in the seventh grade division was Hayden Wall of Pine Tree 7th Grade Middle School. Breanna Herring of Foster Middle School was named as runner up in the 7th grade division.
The purpose of the contest is to help teach our youth the importance of personal responsibility and show them exactly why this character building skill is so important. Participating students answered one of three essay questions: "Why do we need personal responsibility?" "What happens when we do not take personal responsibility in our lives?" and "How do you take personal responsibility in your life?"
"ETALA wants to thank all the students for their participation as well as the hard work of our teachers, school districts and parents." Said Ruben Martin, President and founder of East Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse.
ETALA's essay contest is part of an on-going public awareness effort on the cost and consequences of lawsuit abuse. The group encourages people to be savvy legal consumers and to know their rights.
Read the Winning Essays Below
Hallsville ISD (Cassity Irvin)
What Happens When we Don't Take Responsibility
"I promise I'll clean up after it, if you let me keep her," Missy pleaded. "Well, owning a dog is a huge responsibility." Her dad responded. "I know, I know."
All adults ever think about is responsibility. Oh, you're not responsible enough, Missy thought. Why couldn't her dad just let her have the dog and get it over with?
"Well, if you don't take care of her I will give her away."
Missy could not believe it, her very own dog. "I will call you Kitty," she announced, as she reached out to stroke the dog's beautiful tan coat.
Missy and the sweet golden retriever grew close. She took very good care of her. But Missy soon became busy with other things in her life, and now and then she forgot to feed her.
One day she came home from school and announced she was going to the movies. Her mom stopped her. "Whoa, girl. You have a dog in your care that needs to be fed, watered, and given a bath."
"Well, I can do that after," she argued.
Arguing was no good, she thought, as she fed Kitty. When she was giving her a bath, Kitty jumped away and ran straight to the living room, where she shook and laid down on Missy's brother's school project. Missy ran in there just in time to see it happen.
"Here Kitty," she yelled. Kitty jumped up, ran to her owner, waiting to be rewarded; but what she got was a sharp "bad girl!" The school project was a sopping wet mess.
Michael was furious. "Look what your dog did!" he yelled. Missy slowly and calmly told him that she would fix it. She spent the next three hours fixing it.
For the next two months Missy always had to be reminded to feed Kitty. Her parents got sick of it and decided that it would change.
One day she came home and told her mom that she was going to her friend's house; her mom simply nodded her head. Missy was surprised; her mom usually told her to feed her dog. When she came home, no dog came to greet her, licking her hands. At dinner time she didn't talk about it in fear her parents would remind her to feed the dog. The next morning she couldn't stand it. She marched up to her mom and questioned, "Where is Kitty?"
"How should I know? She is your dog."
"Ha, ha. Please tell me."
"Okay, she is at your cousin's house. You know they have been wanting a dog.
Missy couldn't believe it. She couldn't talk; she just stood there with her mouth open. Finally she managed to choke out, "You mean you gave her away?" But her mom was already upstairs. She ran up there and demanded, "How could you! Kitty was my dog! She was my...responsibility..."
"Exactly, Kitty was your dog. And you were not responsible."
"Hayden Wall" Pine Tree ISD
We need personal responsibility because without it the whole world would go crazy. Responsibility begins at an early age when we are still at home, and continues through our adult lives. Personal responsibility teacher us character, and prepares us as we get older for college and adulthood.
When we are younger and still live at home, we can take personal responsibility by helping out around the house. By being responsible for things such as keeping our rooms clean or taking out the trash, we begin to learn how to take care of our things. Our responsibility at school begins with listening to our teachers and keeping up with our homework and when things are due. We also can show responsibility by being on time for classes and always having what we need for the day. Responsibility even counts when you are playing sports. This means making sure that you have all the right equipment and always know what is going on in the game. Without responsibility, you may cause yourself or someone else to get hurt.
When we get a little bit older and go off to college, there are a whole new set of responsibilities. We must be responsible by waking up on time for our classes, handling our money, and making sure that we keep up with our school work. Sometimes this may be the first time that we have been on our own. We may also have to do other things such as wash our own clothes, buy groceries, and pay bills. All of these responsibilities are preparing us to get a job and have a family later on.
When we become adults and get a job, we are responsible to ourselves and to our employer. We must do a good job for our company and represent it well because this reflects on us and all the other employees. When we show responsibility, we will be rewarded with praise and hopefully a raise or a promotion. In a company, people are noticed who stand out as a responsible individual.
If we get married, we have responsibilities to our families. We must be able to provide a home and food and other things that a family needs.
As you can see, personal responsibility is important in all stages of our lives from childhood to adulthood. The lessons that we begin learning as a child will continue with us through school, college ad into our working lives.