Marley McCourt, an eighth-grade student at Christ the King Regional School in Haddonfield, won first place in the Lions District 16L essay contest on the topic of "Peace During the Covid-19 Pandemic." Haddonfield Middle School sixth-grader Phoebe Rynkar was also recognized for her essay. Both students will receive monetary prizes from the Lions.
McCourt, who lives in Atco, wrote about volunteering during the pandemic and doing things that gave people joy. She helped at a local horse farm and occasionally took one of the farm’s miniature horses out walking. McCourt said that she often felt like she had made someone's day - "like elderly couples sitting on front porches, kids playing in their yards, cars passing by, and police officers all smiled when we walked by. "The moral of the story is that even though it may seem like the end of the world, there is still joy and felicity," McCourt said. "Joy is what brings peace to the world….”
Rynkar wrote about the many definitions of peace and all the people who are spreading peace during the pandemic. “Some of peace is just people doing their part. When you .wear a mask, you are spreading peace,” she said. “Something amazing about peace is that it does not discriminate. Peace isn’t just for the wealthy or presumed perfect, peace is for everyone. Especially right now.”
“Both girls wrote thoughtful essays,” said Heather Lacy, the head of the Haddonfield Area Lions Contest Committee. “I was especially impressed that, with everything that’s going on this year, they took the time to write these pieces.”
A formal presentation to honor the winners will take place when it is safe to do so.