2022-2023 Winning Essays
First Place - Meagan Rottet (Elizabethtown)
Second Place - Isabella Badolato (Myerstown-ELCO)
Third Place - Alfred J. Nazeeri (Palmyra)
2020-2021 Winning Essays
First Place - Sophie Ahrens (Red Lion/Dallastown) Red Lion Area Senior High School
Second Place - Kamrie Alder (Hershey) Milton Hershey School
Third Place - Reileigh Sinsabaugh (Mechanicsburg-North) East Pennsboro Area High School
2019-20 Winning Essays
First Place - Christy Dewitt (Hershey) - Milton Hershey School
Second Place - Stella Gladson (Gettysburg) - New Oxford High School
Third Place - Makenna Counille (Palmyra) - Palmyra High School
2018-19 Winning Essays
First Place - Hayley Krill (Myerstown-ELCO) - ELCO High School
Second Place - Jadaliz Martinez (Lebanon) - Lebanon High School
Third Place - Genevieve Turner (Red Lion/Dallastown Area) - Red Lion High School
2017-18 Winning Essays
First Place - Georgia Martin (Myerstown-ELCO) - ELCO High School
Second Place - Ava Studivant (Eastern York County) - Eastern York High School
Third Place - Kiara DeKeyser (Harrisburg) - Harrisburg High School
2016-17 Winning Essays
First Place - Emma Hively (Red Lion/Dallastown Area) - Red Lion High School
Second Place - Aislinn Abbott (York) - York Country Day School
Third Place - Mitchell Gray (Myerstown-ELCO) - ELCO High School
2015-16 Winning Essays
First Place - Winter Hammon (Hershey) - Milton Hershey School
Second Place - Sarah Chacko (Mechanicsburg-North) - Cumberland Valley High School
Third Place - Gabriel Tobias (Lebanon) - Cedar Crest High School
2014-15 Winning Essays
First Place - Carly Guise (Red Lion/Dallastown Area) - Red Lion High School
Second Place - Haille Kern (Myerstown-ELCO) - ELCO High School
Third Place - Katie Kocsis (Mechanicsburg-North) - Cumberland Valley High School
Four Way Test ESSAY Contest

2022-2023 ESSAY PROMPT

Is it the Truth? – How I Define What is True in My Life.  We are looking forward to receiving essays from 9 th grade high school students which address questions like:  What is true?  Where is truth found?  Is truth important?  Is truth relative? 



Rotarians across the world apply the “Four-Way Test” to their professional and personal relationships by asking themselves the following:
Of the Things we think, say, or do:
  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it fair to all concerned?
  • Will it build good will and better friendships?
  • Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
A very important, if not the most important, question in Rotary’s Four-Way Test is the first one – “Is it the Truth?”
In this time of “alternative facts,” “fake news,” media bias and “spin” many have wondered:  What is true?  Where is truth found?  Is truth even important?  Some question whether truth is absolute or simply relative to a person’s time, background or position in life.  Still others question whether people are able to get outside of themselves to view truth apart from their own personal interest.  (See Joseph Epstein, The Four-Way Test in a Post-Truth Era, The Rotarian (May 2019).
We would like to hear your thoughts on the “truth.”  Please address in an essay how you determine whether something is true and the factors you consider in reaching the answer to “Is it the Truth?”  


Eligibility:  Ninth Grade Students.
Format:  The essay should be submitted in .pdf format and suitable for printing on 8.5 x 11.0 paper.  The text should be double spaced in 12-point font (Arial or Times New Roman are preferred).  Do not insert identifying information such as a name or school on any sheet except the cover sheet.  Do not insert graphics. 
Number of Copies:  Essays (with cover sheet) should be e-mailed to the Rotary District 7390 Office - office@rotary7390.org.  Club chairs without e-mail capability should mail their winning essay to the district office.
Essay Length:  The essay must not exceed 1500 words in length.
Cover Sheet:  A cover sheet must be attached to each essay. See the attached format for the Cover Sheet. Click here for a fillable PDF cover sheet
Original Work:  The essay must be the original work of the student submitting the essay for competition.  Team writing, parental participation, and the use of works written by other sources, even if foot-noted, is not authorized.  Participating students will sign a pledge on the Cover Sheet stating that the essay is their original work.


  1. Agree to sponsor the contest.
  2. Identify and contact the lead English teacher for the ninth grade class(es) in the public and private schools in your geographic area.  Also consider home-schooled students.  If there is a resource or point of contact that is a source of information for home-schooled students, consider reaching out to these students, as well. 
  3. Appoint a committee to evaluate the best essays submitted from the students submitting essays.  Consider either having the schools submit the essays to you through a contact teacher or have the students submit their essays directly to you.
  4. Select the Club winner(s) and submit the first place essay(s) to the District office by February 10, 2023. 
  5. Recognize the Club winners, parents and teacher(s) and award certificates/prizes at the discretion of your Club.
  1. Provide cash awards for the District winners.
  2. Appoint a committee to evaluate the winning essays submitted by the Clubs and select the District winners.
  3. Invite the winners, their parents, and teachers to the District Conference where prizes will be awarded to the top three students and the winner will present the winning essay.
  4. Display the winning essays on the District website.
  5. Provide monetary awards: First Place - $500, Second Place - $300, Third Place - $100


Below is a suggested calendar for you to use in the conduct of your contest.  The dates and times in bold are critical dates that must be complied with. The remainder are suggested time deadlines but your club can exercise discretion in how it conducts its contest and chooses its winner that is submitted to the district contest.
  • Fall 2022 - Organize your Club’s contest. Set deadlines, recruit a judging panel and introduce the Contest to the schools (public, private and home-schools).  Find a point of contact at the school who will work with you to introduce the contest to ninth graders.
  • Early January 2023- Set a deadline at some time in this month for student submission of essays to your Club. 
  • Late February 2023 - Pick a date to honor your Club's winning essay writer(s), including his or her parents and teacher.  Be sure to space the deadline for essay submissions to your Club and the Club meeting to give yourself, and your judging panel, sufficient time to evaluate the essays and notify the winner(s).   
  • February 20, 2023 -  Last date for essays to be submitted to District Office.
  • Mid-March, 2023 -  District Four-Way Test Committee announces District winners.
  • Mid-April 2023 - District Conference – Winner reads his/her essay.


The Four-Way Test Essay contest in District 7390 was initiated in 2006-07 by the Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg-North in the 9th grade at Cumberland Valley High School. The winner of their 2007-08 contest presented her essay at the District Conference and was well received.
The 2008-09 District Governor challenged other Clubs to have contests in their local schools and agreed that if multiple Clubs did have contests, he would have their winners vie for District honors and prizes. While only 3 clubs participated in 2009, the number has gradually increased each year. The first place winner presents their essay at the District Conference.


Four-Way Test Essay Contest Chair:
Steve Grubb
Tel(Cell): (717) 576-8145
E-mail: stevengrubb@comcast.net