The Harbinger Online

Lauren Winston Wins SMAC PTA Award

After volunteering at an urban school in the KC Public School District where her mom teaches, freshman Lauren Winston decided to write her paper for the Shawnee Mission Area Council (SMAC) PTA writing contest about the differences between urban and suburban educations.

“When I finished writing it all down and comparing and contrasting, it really showed me how unequal the education differences are,” Winston said.

After a week of searching for an inspiration to write about, and three days of scratching out words and re-working sentences, all of her hard work had finally paid off.  Two weeks later, as freshman Lauren Winston plops down on her couch, a phone call sounded throughout her house.  Shock and happiness overwhelmed Winston.  She had just won the SMAC PTA award of excellence for her essay she wrote, which is equivalent to first place out of all the students at East.

“I was really surprised,” Winston said. “But it was also a good feeling because it showed that they were really interested.”

The SMAC PTA contest is a district wide writing competition where students get to choose any topic of reflection they want, and write an essay on it.  Each school’s one winner receives the opportunity to enter the writing competition at the state level.  

“I’m really excited for Lauren,” her freshman and friend Lucy Hoffman said.  “She put a lot of time into it and she handled a more serious topic in a very mature way.”  

Although it took some nudging from her mom to enter the contest, after submitting her paper, Lauren was glad she did it.  By entering the contest, Lauren was able to explore other topics, like the different education systems.   

“It took me about a week to come up with an idea to write about, but after writing it, it helped me realize what I was passionate about and made me enjoy writing more,” Winston said.  

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