W-G students wins state Laws of Life

WAYNESFIELD — A Waynesfield-Goshen student had an essay she wrote selected as the top in the state from among more than 200 students.

Linda-Carol Spencer, 15, a sophomore, had her essay named as the best among 15 students selected to attend the Ohio Statewide Laws of Life Essay Contest on April 25. The contest is sponsored by the Better Business Bureau’s Center for Character Ethics.

“I was so humbled to even be there,” Spencer said. “When I was named first place, well, I didn’t expect that at all.”

The essay was done as a class assignment in her sophomore English teacher Shaun Ricker’s class. Spencer said she had no problem picking a subject for her essay.

“My grandpa passed away when I was 12,” the daughter of Tamara and Darin said. “I remember before he passed away I had a conversation with him. He told me to always follow my heart. He spoke to me about always doing the right thing and that always stayed with me and affected my decisions in many situations. It taught me to not do what the world tells you to do, but to do what is right.”

Spencer revealed just one of the many situations where her grandfather’s advice helped her to make a good decision while in a bad situation.

“One time I was at church camp and there was a girl sitting all by herself,” Spencer said. “No one would talk to her so I sat down and became friends with her. She just needed a friend. My grandpa taught me to be the one that steps up and does the right thing.”

The Laws of Life contest was founded by Sir John Templeton in 1987 and was designed for students to share their laws of life and their core values and ideals by which they live their lives. The contest is designed to integrate character education into the writing curriculum at schools.

One excerpt in her essay provided a glimpse at the advice her grandfather gave her:

“As I sat there for one last time in my grandpa’s lap, he told me one last story. I listened closely and recalled him with a memory from when I was a little girl. I used to pretend that I was a princess and he was my prince.  He hugged me tightly and spoke of how I once told him to follow his heart. Of course, being a little girl, I was only repeating what I’d heard from my favorite Disney movies, but grandpa said my words really touched him. Whenever he was about to turn away from a good decision, he would hear my little voice in the back of his mind telling him to follow his heart. When the story was finished, I smiled, kissed him goodnight, and then we left. If only I had known back then that this last lesson he spoke of was the best of them all. Follow your heart.”

She explained that the encounter with the girl at church camp happened only two years later. The girl explained to her that she was wondering if her life was important up until the moment Spencer befriended her.

The girl thanked Spencer for being her friend.

Spencer said she hopes her essay has one simple impact to those that read it.

“Don’t do what everyone else does,” Spencer said. “Do what you know is right.”

She said winning the award was a wonderful experience and she thanked Ricker and her parents for attending the event with her and supporting her. She also thanked her three younger sisters, Samantha, Izabelle and Abigail.

“It was a wonderful experience,” she said.