The Jennings County Community Foundation (JCCF) happily sponsored the Sixth Grade Essay Contest for the third year in a row. It started in 2019 as a part of the yearlong 25th anniversary celebration of the JCCF, but the essay contest was such a success, the Foundation decided to do it each year since then.

“I personally have been impressed with the abilities of the students and also their willingness to share their experiences and emotions in their writings,” said Judge Ellie Bright, JCCF board member.

Last year’s essay topic was: Why is it important for youth to be involved in their community? This year’s prompt was: What does resilience mean to you?

Participating students were directed to give an example of a time or situation in which they had to be resilient and explain in detail. They also had to give an example of a time or situation in which someone they knew had to be resilient, with a 200 word minimum and 250 word maximum.

Prizes include a $30 Wal-Mart gift card for an individual winner chosen from each school. The class with the individual winner will receive a pizza party for the entire class (if feasible due to COVID-19 restrictions) and a $100 grant from the Community Foundation to use for a classroom program, supply, or educational purpose.

The essays had to be returned to teachers by Friday, Feb. 26. The essay grading committee began their grading the first week of March, with the goal that winners be announced before Spring Break. The essay grading committee consists of three retired Jennings County Schools English teachers. The essay’s authors were kept anonymous from the grading committee.

Hayden Elementary was unable to participate this year. Last year’s essay contest winner was Molly Wathen for her essay on why it’s important for youth to be involved in their community.

Brush Creek ElementaryContest Winner: Etta Young

Teacher: Caitlin Roll

What Resilience Means To Me

Resilience means to recover quickly from difficult situations. It means to me if you are down, get back up and keep working hard. I was required to be resilient when my team was down in a basketball game and when my mama was sick.

It was a Sunday we were playing against the best team in the league. The team and I were very nervous. We didn’t get the ball first but that was fine. In the first quarter we were down, but we kept playing. I personally didn’t make my shots. At halftime it was 22 to 8. I was upset, I told my team we had to play stronger in the second half. At the end of the game it was 22 to 30. We overcame the battle and won.

My mama was resilient when she was very sick. I had never seen her worse. She was extremely bad, but she still got up every day. Her doctor said she needed to take medicine every day and drink lots of fluids. My mama drank plenty of fluids and took her medicine like she was told.After a month of being sick she got better by drinking fluids and taking medicine.

In conclusion, resilience to me means you find the inner strength to fight and keep going. Every day we can be faced with obstacles and challenges teaching us to be resilient. Learning to be resilient makes us stronger.

Graham Creek Elementary

Contest Winner: Izzy Hyden

Teacher: Theresa Ragsdale


Resilience means to me that it can show that I can be strong and make myself feel confident. Resilience is a word that makes me feel good about myself when I am going through some difficulties. The word resilience means to overcome difficulties quickly. I was required to be resilient when my family was down with covid, and my Dad was required to be resilient when he started his EMT classes.

When looking back, in December of 2020, my whole family was down with covid. I felt like I was trapped and alone while being quarantined. According to memories that I have remembered, I would be laying in bed watching movies by myself and it made me feel sad because normally my mom or sisters would watch the movie with me. Once the ten days had hit, I was able to see my family and I was opening up more and going back to myself. I demonstrated resilience during that time by opening up and being able to be with my family and it made me happy. I was happy to be able to see my sisters and my parents and be able to enjoy the days with them.

For instance, the time my Dad demonstrated resilience was when he had started his EMT classes in the beginning of 2020. My Dad works five days a week at an engineering shop and he is a volunteer fireman. When my Dad had started his EMT classes he had lots of homework to do. When I think back through my memories I remember that it felt weird for him to come home late. His classes would be on Mondays and Thursdays from about 5:30 pm to around 8:30 pm. When the classes started he had started to lose sleep from staying up late to finish the homework for the classes. But not only was he losing sleep,he was also not able to spend much time with the family. On top of the homework and the classes he has to do, he also had to do clinicals for hours throughout the day. My Dad is able to finish up the class this coming March and now that he is closer to the end he is finally able to spend more time with the family due to him getting more stuff finished for the class.

I was required to be resilient when my family was down with covid, and my Dad was required to be resilient when he had started his EMT classes. The meaning of resilience can be applied to many different lives or situations. Everyone can go through difficulties and in the end they can show resilience like how my dad and I did through our difficult times.

North Vernon Elementary

Contest Winner: Tilden Grider

Teacher: Rachel Neal

Try to be resilient everyday

Being resilient to me means being able to bounce back quickly after something terrible has happened or did not go your way. Being able to be flexible, show strength, and being able to adapt are also ways to show resilience. I was required to be resilient when I lost a tough wrestling match. My dad was required to be resilient when he flipped a propane truck at work.

One day, I traveled to a big wrestling tournament with my team. I was very excited because I had worked hard during practice that week and just knew I was going to wrestle well. My first match of the day, however, did not go as planned. I was quickly taken down by my opponent and pinned. I felt very defeated and did not want to wrestle anymore the rest of the day but I knew that my coach was counting on me. As my next match started, I could hear my teammates cheer me on and I ended up winning! I was resilient and did not give up like I wanted to which led to a win.

My dad recently had to be resilient when he was at work. He was riding in a propane truck when someone ran a stop sign and ran his truck off the road. His truck flipped in a field three times before coming to a stop. My dad was very shaken up but did not have any injuries. He was nervous to get back in a truck and drive again but just three days later, he was right back in a propane truck doing his job. He was resilient because he knew he needed to get back to work even though he was shaken up and nervous after his wreck.

In summary, coming back and trying again after losing my wrestling match and my Dad going right back to work after flipping his work truck are great examples of showing resiliency. We were both able to bounce back quickly and do great things after having terrible things happen to us. We both had to be flexible, show strength, and adapt quickly. Everyone should try to be resilient everyday.

Sand Creek Elementary

Contest Winner: Alondra Zarate

Teacher: Debra McKinley

The Power of Resilience

Resilience is like a growing tree, bending in the wind instead of snapping off. According to, resilience is an “ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” In other words, resilience is the act of facing a situation you’ve faced and to rise back stronger than before. It was necessary to be resilient when I was learning how to ride my new skateboard, and it was necessary for Rosa Parks to be resilient when she stood up for herself.

“Thud!” That was the noise I made when I fell off of my skateboard. I was new at this and every time I tried to ride it, I would always end up falling. I would get new scratches and bandages, but no matter how much I got hurt I would keep on trying.

“Thud and owww” is what I said over and over again, until one lucky day I had finally mastered riding my skateboard. I was so excited and happy, and to this day I’m glad that I didn’t give up. Being resilient has taught me multiple valuable lessons and made me have a better attitude on situations that are not going well.

A famous person who not only showed resilience, but made history, was Rosa

Parks. According to, Rosa Parks was an African American who got on a bus one day. Later that bus had gotten full, and then a white man got on the bus, but no seats were available. The bus driver told Rosa Parks to give up her seat, but she refused. She didn’t believe that was fair, and she was arrested. Multiple people heard of what had happened and started a protest. They were demanding to change the law so that it would be more fair. Their wish became a reality, and slowly the law became more fair over the years. What do you think the world would be like now if she had made a different decision?

“The moment you doubt whenever you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” -Sir James Matthew Barrier. Being resilient can change you for the better. For example, Rosa Parks had to defend herself in a serious situation, and I had to be brave when I was learning how to ride my skateboard. Everyone should try to be resilient at one point, and you will feel amazing afterwards.

Scipio Elementary

Contest Winner: Savannah Bannister

Teacher: Janet Kreutzjans


Resilience means to recuperate. According to Sheryl Windberg,” to fight for change tomorrow we need to be resilient today.” I was required to be resilient when I moved from a neighborhood to a farm out in the country and my mom was required to be resilient after having her thyroid removed.

A life changing event I went through was moving from a neighborhood to a house in the country. The year I moved was 2013. This was way different than the house we lived in before because living on a farm, there are more jobs and responsibilities. I was physically affected by this change because I have to be stronger and more hardworking. I was also emotionally affected by this because moving was new to me. I was resilient because I adapted to living on a farm.

My mom had to show resilience when her thyroid was removed. She had to adjust to taking medication everyday for the rest of her life. She is required to get blood work done every six months. My mom has to make sure she is staying healthy. To her having her thyroid removed was an emotional time for her, it caused bad mood swings. It also affected her physically because it made her sick off and on. My mom showed resilience because she had to adjust to all the mood swings, the doctor appointments every six months, and the medication daily.

I was required to be resilient when I moved, and my mom showed resilience when her thyroid was being removed. These are both examples of resilience that were major changes for both me and my family. Being resilient can affect people in various ways.

St. Mary’s School

Contest Winner: Sylvia Kovacich

Teacher: Tori Whitehead

Knowing that everything is going to be alright

Resilience means to get back up when times get tough. Resilience is being strong enough to block out the bad and remember that everything is going to be alright. I was required to be resilient when my great-grandma passed away, and Mrs. Scheidler was required to be resilient when she lost her child.

When my grandma passed, I struggled because it happened very quickly. After we visited her at the hospital, my dad told me that my great-grandma probably didn’t have much longer. The next day, my mom picked me up from school and told me that my grandma had passed away. I started to cry which also made my mom cry. At her funeral my family and I spent our time mourning and remembering all of the good times we had together with her.

Mrs. Scheidler, a teacher at St. Mary’s, was pregnant with her first child and was going to name him Isaiah. Several months into her pregnancy, she noticed that her baby wasn’t making any movement. She went to the doctor and they told her he had passed away. At school we now have one special day when our school does good deeds for people “All for Isaiah.”

I was required to be resilient when my great-grandma passed away, and Mrs. Scheidler was required to be resilient when her child passed. Resilience means knowing that people are there for you. Being at school with people that support me was a big part of helping me feel better.