Swyter receives McLaughlin citizenship award

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 6/9/99.

The eighth grade at the Paynesville Area Middle School was recognized Wednesday on the last day of school.

One hundred and eight students were presented certificates for achievement in civics and physical education. In addition, they also received diplomas, marking the end of their schooling in the middle school and the transition to the high school.

SwyterAmong the awards presented was the John McLaughlin Award, in honor of a former civics teacher.

Three students competed for the award: Susie Swyter, Kayla Hemingson, and Trish Chevalier. It was announced Swyter (pictured right with civics teacher Cameron Mahlum) was the recipient of the award.

Printed below is her winning essay.

"I deserve the John McLaughlin Citizenship Award because I am active in my school, church, and community.

I would like to start out by saying I am a member of the youth ministries team at my church. This team plans various activities for our youth to do in the church. My dad and I are on the nursery committee and we have to take our turn each quarter. I have helped with Bible school and Kids Club. Last year, I was a member of the church softball team.We had lots of fun and I hope to play again this summer. I worked with the puppet wagon and helped get it painted for the puppet shows in the summer. We take it out to the lake in summer and give short skits for the children on the beach. We hope to continue witnessing with the puppets again this summer.

The activities in my school that I belong to are softball and basketball. In softball, I am a pitcher and sometimes a catcher. I am a small forward in basketball. I have been in the choir since sixth grade and pop's choir since seventh grade.

I attended a rural youth leadership conference for two years, in seventh and eighth grade through the youth advisory board which I am also on. The advisory board is picked by the teachers. In youth advisory, we help improve our school and encourage school spirit. We have met with the school board and also with the chamber of commerce.

In the community, I am involved in a variety of things. I enjoy acting and entertaining the community by being in summer theatre through community education. In the spring and fall, I have helped rake people's lawns through school and church.

Biking is one of my hobbies and in sixth grade, my dad and I raised over $400 for MS by riding in the TRAM. This is riding your bike across the state of Minnesota. I am a member of a christian singing group called Stained Glass. We perform at the local churches and have lots of fun doing it. Last year I went around the community collecting money for the Relay for Life. This is a "walk against cancer." My uncle has cancer and I feel I can do something for him by being in the walk. I will be doing it again this year. I hope that what I do now, will have an impact on my life in the future."

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