Stoneburner wins human rights essay contest

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 3/2/99.

Stoneburner Laura Stoneburner (second from left), won an essay contest sponsored by the Paynesville Human Rights Commission.

The purpose of the contest was to familiarize eighth graders with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Stoneburnerís winning essay will be forwarded to the statewide contest. First place at the state level receives $500.

Receiving second and third place honors in the local contest are Jessica Andrie (left) and Adam Christian (right).

The students were asked to read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights then answer the following question: ďIf you look at the attitudes and values of your family or immediate neighbors, there may be some things that are said or done that are not consistent with the rights that are given to all of us. What can you do if the following situation occurs: A family ďdifferentĒ from your family moves into a home on your street. Someone in your family or your next door neighbor make negative comments about this new family because of their differences.Ē

Printed below is Stoneburnerís winning essay:
The situation of a family different from mine moving into a home on our street could be difficult to accommodate, especially if someone in my family or a next door neighbor was making negative comments about the newcomers.

Since I was very young, my parents have emphasized the idea of treating others as you would like to be treated. With this in mind, I have done my best to be fair to not just my friends and family, but to all people. I realize how fortunate I am to have many blessings, but at the same time I see the many people who havenít been as lucky. In my opinion, we shouldnít hold anything against these people.

In applying this knowledge to the real-life situation of a different, new family moving in on our street, I would welcome them in an open and helpful manner. It is sometimes hard to put ourselves in another personís situation, but I would encourage my neighbors and family to make the new community members welcome. We could do this by holding a neighborhood welcoming picnic or get-together.

Although there isnít much I can do to prevent others from making negative comments towards this family, I would encourage them to be both fair and nice to create community unity.

If this new family has kids, I would be willing to show them around our school and community, to help them become acquainted with their new environment. My introducing them to teachers and students would probably make them feel more comfortable than meeting them on their own.

Being there for these people when they have questions or problems is probably the most helpful thing I could do, and what they would appreciate the most. Along with my family and our community, we would make this family love the Paynesville area.

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