Westminster girl wins statewide contest by contemplating city hall


April 01, 2002|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FRIENDSHIP VALLEY fourth-grader Megan Lin recently got an unexpected call during her school day and the big news that she was a regional winner in a statewide writing contest.

More than 2,000 pupils entered the contest, which was sponsored by the Maryland Municipal League in 11 districts throughout the state.

Megan was one of 11 pupils who wrote winning essays about the assigned topic, "If I Were Mayor, I Would ..."

Each essayist won a $250 savings bond, a trip to the State House to meet Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and tickets to see a Bowie Baysox game.

David C. Harrington, MML president and the mayor of Bladensburg, called Megan to tell her the good news. The news brought cheers from her classmates, congratulations from her teachers, and "the biggest smile to Megan's face," said her teacher, Mary Ann Summers.

"I'm sure she has inspired more children to enter contests like that one," Summers said.

Daughter of Hsing Chih and Ted Lin of Westminster, Megan is no stranger to writing contests, or winning. For the past two years, she has won first-place honors inRandom House contests.

"It's great to win, but if I don't, that's OK, too," Megan said. "I've learned from my parents that I can find out what the winners did well and learn from them. And, there will always be other contests."

Megan's essay reveals that if she were mayor, she would want to be part of a community that is diverse and inclusive.

"To make the community more inclusive, I will reach out to all the citizens by having regular public hearings, surveys, or interviews with them to hear about their concerns and complaints," Megan wrote in her essay.

"It was interesting to see how mature her response was," Summers said. "It was still from a child's perspective, but it was mature."

Megan said a Web site created by the contest organizers helped her shape the main points of her essay.

"The contest form encouraged us to look at the site. I could tell that I would have a better chance of winning if I looked at it. So I went there and got some good ideas," she said.

In addition to writing, Megan enjoys playing the piano, the violin and the trumpet during her spare time. As the congratulations rolled in last week, Megan shared advice with her classmates.

"I think all kids should know that it's always a good idea to enter the contests and do your best," Megan said. "Even if you don't win, trying is still better than not trying."

Put on dancing shoes

Cedarhurst Coffeehouse in Finksburg will serve as host of a Contra Dance at 7:30 p.m. May 4.

Susan Taylor will be the caller, and the Baltimore Open Band will perform.

"It's a great way to meet people and square dancing is good exercise," said Barb Schmid, a fiddle player from Hampstead and a member of the band. "Susan Taylor's calling style is so much fun - fun for the whole family, for beginning dancers and for folks with dancing experience."

Cedarhurst Coffeehouse is at 2912 Clubhouse Road. Admission to the Contra Dance is $7 at the door and $5 in advance. Directions and full schedule: www.cedarhurst uu.org (click on the guitar player).

Living Treasures honored

Ten-year-old Shannon Smith honors her cats Rex and Stripes as her Living Treasures this week.

"A lot of people don't think about honoring their pets, but that's who comes to my mind right now," Shannon said. "One time, when I was watching a movie with my family, I was sitting by a stool and I backed up and hit my head against it really hard. My cats came up to me and wiped their noses against my face."

Shannon said, "They reminded me that they really love me and that they would never leave me."

Who is your Living Treasure? Brighten someone's day by submitting his or her name to: Lisa Breslin, 35 Ridge Road, Westminster 21157, or 410-848-4703.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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