ucps logo

Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools

Search by Keyword

I believe in the power of the written word

Parents and students take time to read student essays.

The power of words was never so evident than at the 4th Annual “This I Believe” event at Marvin Ridge Middle on April 13th. Over 400 students wrote an essay proclaiming their personal beliefs and life philosophies. Parents and community leaders came to our school to hear the students read their essay to a small group. There were about 1,000 people in attendance to support their children and friends. It was the largest crowd to date for the event.

“This I Believe” is a nationally syndicated radio segment that airs twice a week on National Public Radio, WFAE locally.  The segments originated in the ‘50’s by Edward R. Murrow in order to get the “pulse of America”. His promotion encouraged anyone and everyone to consider writing an essay of 500 words or less describing a personal belief. Murrow then selected an essay each week to air on the radio. These segments aired for twenty years and were then revived on NPR about 10 years ago.

Two Marvin Ridge Middle teachers, Mrs. Haring and Mrs. Anderson, heard the segments on the radio and decided it might be the perfect unit for the personal essay. 
“This is an opportunity for our students to dig deep and find what is really important in their lives. They have personal experiences that have shaped their core values and beliefs. This essay is an opportunity to share those beliefs,” stated Haring.
In addition to writing the essay, students had to take a picture of three words that described their belief paper. Finally, all students invited their family, old teachers, friends, and community leaders to the event to hear them read their essay to a small group. Every year parents are so impressed with these essays they seem to be moved to tears. Parents are warned to bring their Kleenex!
“It is so great to have educational mentors/teachers that require kids to push themselves.  It really allows them (the students) the opportunity to reach below the surface of a very surface-driven world,” explained Mrs. Duncan, mother of 7th grader Gabby.
Essay topics range from friends, divorce, bullying, loss, grief, and moving, just to name a few. One thing is for sure, these 7th graders never fail to amaze any reader with their mature insight and perspective on life. This is one event parents, teachers, and students look forward to each year. The students’ “This I Believe” essays will be hanging in the Pit for a few more weeks. Stop by and feel the power of the written word.

Written by: Stephanie Haring
Posted: Apr 15, 2011 by Brita Mann

Back to list of stories for Union County Public Schools