Rural Awareness Annual Essay Awards Recognize Franklin Township Students

The Tenth Annual Rural Awareness Scholar Award essay winners were announced by the organization at Franklin Township School’s awards assembly June 15. The non-profit group sponsors the essay contest for all Franklin Township School students in grades 3, 4, and 5.  Judges determine which essays best convey the theme of the year’s topic.

The 2016 topic cited the Township’s open space and miles of trails and beautiful county roads and asked students to vividly describe what they see, what they hear, and especially what they feel when they are outside enjoying nature in Franklin.

The Grand Champion and first place winner in the fifth grade is Kaitlyn Meyer, whose essay, Outside the Door, describes a host of nature’s delights like cackling crows, crunching leaves, the scent of lawn cuttings, and trees lined up like soldiers at the end of the fields. Second place in the fifth grade went to Taylor Simms for The Gentle Spirit of Spring. Alexander Turner received honorable mention for My Neighborhood.

Fourth grade winners are Madilyn Thompson, first; Alexis Lonoff, second; and Katie Piotrowski, honorable mention. Their essays are entitled, respectively, A Day in Franklin Township, Rural Awareness, and Capoolong Creek Trail.

Third grade winners are Luke McDonald, first, Brandon Blaszka, second; and Ryan Bauman and Chase Kober, tied for honorable mention.  Luke McDonald described the sights and sounds in Franklin’s open fields and trails; Brandon Blaszka wrote about the beauty and calmness of Franklin Township.  Ryan Bauman titled his work, Backyard Adventures in Franklin Township. Chase Kober wrote that being outside in nature makes him feel good, safe, and like he is in heaven.

Teachers of the winning students are Lynn Johnson, Janet Prassl, Susan Rainaldi, and Jeff Weinhold.

Prizewinners all receive gift certificates to the Clinton Book Shop. First place gets $50; second, $30; and honorable mention, $10.  The grand prize winner is selected from the three first place winners and additionally receives a gift certificate for a pizza night at Frank’s Italian Restaurant in Clinton. The Clinton Book Shop and Frank’s Italian Restaurant generously partner with Rural Awareness each year for the competition. All entrants receive a certificate of participation.

The nine winning essays will be posted on the Rural Awareness website at

Rural Awareness, Inc. is a non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the historic and rural heritage of Franklin Township.