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Rotary Four Way Test Essays


District 7720

Deedra Durocher, Contest Chairperson

252-631-1509 or 401-286-0217

 The Purpose of the Contest

District 7720 is pleased to again sponsor a 4-Way Test Essay Contest to provide junior high school students (7th and 8th grades) with a simple and straightforward tool to use in making decisions in their everyday lives. This essay contest is designed to introduce students to the Rotary principles of personal ethics and service in their community. It also is aimed at encouraging young people to learn to articulate their values coherently, in writing. In nearly every profession they may consider in their future, the ability to express one’s thoughts and ideas clearly, concisely, and persuasively is an important skill. Additionally, the 4-Way Test Essay Contest is meant to encourage and involve local Rotary Clubs with the youth of their communities.

 How Your Club Can Be Involved

All club Presidents in District 7720 are asked to initiate this 4-Way Test Essay Contest in their local school districts. Public, private and home-school educational systems should be encouraged to participate. An Essay Contest Chair should be named to serve as a liaison with the District’s Essay Contest Chair. Individual clubs may decide to award modest cash prizes and/or gift certificates a part of their essay competitions.  A letter to the Chairperson coordinating a local essay contest is attached. In addition, the Entry Form for submitting the winning essays to the District contest is also attached and should be copied for each essay (up to three top winners).

 4-Way Test Background

From the earliest days of Rotary, Rotarians have been committed to promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is the 4-Way Test, which Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor created in 1932 when he took charge of a company facing bankruptcy. This twenty-four-word test for employees to use in making decisions in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with suppliers and customers. The company survived and prospered and this is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, the 4-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It asks the following four questions, requiring each individual to provide the answers:

 Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


            Any junior high school student, in grades 7 or 8, in a town/city represented by a Rotary club in District 7720 is eligible to participate, whether public, private, or home schooled. Previous District First Place winners may not compete this year.

 Judging Criteria

Clubs should organize their own competitions, using the rules contained in this guide. At the District level, contestants will not be identified by name or Club, only by a contestant number. A panel of three judges will be selected for the District contest. Each judge shall assign points for the following:

  1. Content
  • Organization, originality of thought, success in addressing the topic (the Impact an application of the 4-Way Test has on the topic chosen), clarity, and expressiveness of language, grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.
  1. Specifics
  • Proper completion of the Entry Form

 Judges will determine the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners and the clubs submitting these essays will be notified by the District Essay Contest Chair. Arrangements will be made with each club to arrange for the presentation of the cash prizes designated for each winner of the District’s Essay Contest before the end of the school year.

 $150 Top Cash Prize for District Winner

The 1st Place winner of the District Essay Contest will receive a cash prize of $150.  Cash prizes will also be awarded for 2nd ($100) and 3rd ($50) Place winners. All students submitting an essay to the District Contest will receive a 4-Way Test Ribbon Bookmark to recognize their participation.


Clubs should notify the District Essay Contest Chair no later thanFebruary 16, 2018 if they will be holding a club essay contest and planning to submit winning essays to the District contest. The essay topics for any club contest must be one of the three suggested by the District.  Club contests should be concluded by March 23, 2018so the essays winning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place from a club competition can be submitted to the District Essay Contest Chair no later than April 6, 2018. Winners will be announced by April 27, 2018.

 The Essay Contest Topics for 2018

Students should discuss how the 4-Way Test might be applied to one of the following topics:

  • How can the 4-Way Test reduce Bullying/Cyber-bullying?
    • At a time when bullying occurs too often in schools, in person or online, how can the 4-Way Test be used to encourage other students to stand-up to a bully and/or support the person being bullied?
  • Social networking sites and their impact on our society
    • Social media allows someone to post all sorts of things anonymously. How can the 4-Way Test help bring some responsibility and civility to any of the social media platforms? What can a social media post say about the individual putting out a message and what are the possible consequences?
  • Is any one of the questions on the 4-Way Test more important than the others?
    • It’s just 24 words, but can any one of the questions stand alone or are they all related and necessary to make the right decision?

 Essay Requirements

  1. Essays must be the original work of the student. Each one of the four questions of the

Four-Way Test must be referenced or asked and answered in the essay as they relate to the student’s chosen topic.

  1. Essays should be limited to two typed pages, double spaced (approximately 1000 words).
  2. Each participant (student) must fully complete the entry form and provide it to their local

            Rotary club essay contest coordinator prior to that club’s contest deadline.

  1. Clubs must fully complete the section on the bottom of the Entry Form indicating the

            Essay’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place order.   


Important Additional Information

  1. This information and Entry Form for student participants and the Rotary club submitting winning essay will be available on the District 7720 website ( or by contacting the District Essay Contest Chair: Deedra Durocher,,

252-631-1509 or 401-286-0217.

  1. All essay entries must be based on one of this year’s themes and be limited to 1000 words or less.
  2. All essays must be submitted with the appropriate forms on or before April 6, 2018 to the District 4-Way Test Essay Contest Chair, Deedra Durocher, of the New Bern Breakfast Rotary club. Essays can be sent by mail to 1704 High Street, New Bern, NC 28560 or by email (preferred) to
  3. District winners will be awarded with cash prizes as follows: First Place - $150, Second Place - $100, Third Place - $50. Winners will be announced by April 27, 2018.
  4. The District winners may be awarded their prize during a meeting of their sponsoring Rotary Club or at another appropriate venue of that club’s choosing. Where and when possible, a District representative may be available to participate in such a presentation.


As the District’s 4-Way Essay Contest Chair, I sincerely hope you will make an effort to encourage the participation of students in your club’s local community. If you have any questions, please call me at 252-631-1509 (home) or 401-286-0217 (cell) or email me at

 Last year, with very little time to promote and manage the Essay Contest, we received 22 entries from just 8 clubs in our District. This year, I am looking forward to greater participation by more clubs in District 7720!

Yours in Rotary,

Deedra Durocher, New Bern Breakfast Rotary

2018 Contest Chairperson


Attached:       District 4-Way Test Essay Contest Announcement & Information

                        Letter for Rotary Club Contest Chairperson

                        Letter to Students

Entry Form



District 7720


 To: Rotary Club Contest Chairperson

 With the previous pages of this 2018 Rotary 4-Way Test Essay Contest Announcement, you should have the information you need to begin recruitment for your club’s local essay contest participants.

Certainly if you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact me.   

 I do want to offer a few suggestions to help make your club’s contest successful:


  1. Make a personal visit to the person at your local school administration office who works with curriculum in the 7th and 8th grade levels. Make an effort to include public, private and home-school students in extending your invitation for participation in this year’s Essay Contest. A suggested letter to students is attached for your consideration and/or modification.


  1. If your community has more than one Rotary Club, work together to decide how you will coordinate the contest to insure that all children in this grade level have an opportunity to participate and that each club has an opportunity to be involved and that communications with the school district are not duplicated.


  1. Decide on your local deadline date for essay submissions, giving yourself time for collection of all entries and the judging process. Please note: April 6, 2018 is the deadline for you to get your winning essay(s) to me electronically so we can have time to judge all District entries in time for an announcement of the winners by April 27, 2018.


  1. Decide on your Club’s local prize amounts and an appropriate and visible way to announce your winners. If at all possible, recognize all contest participants (such as a pizza or ice cream party). Be sure to include parents and teachers as much as possible.


  1. Finally, be sure to complete the Entry Form for each essay submitted to the District’s Essay Contest. Please be sure all requested information is provided including your name, club name and phone number. I need this information to contact you if your entry is one of the winners for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Place.

 I look forward to having an amazing collection of essays from your club!


Deedra Durocher, Contest Chairperson

252-631-1509 or 401-286-0217

Letter to Students

Entry Form


The Four-Way Test Essay contest in District 7390 was initiated in 2006-07 by the Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg-North in the 9th grade at Cumberland Valley High School. The winner of their 2007-08 contest presented her essay at the District Conference and was well received.


The 2008-09 District Governor challenged other Clubs to have contests in their local schools and agreed that if multiple Clubs did have contests, he would have their winners vie for District honors and prizes. The Clubs responded and three prizes were awarded in 2009 and 2010 with the first place winners presenting their essays at the District Conference.


Approximately 20 Clubs in the District participate in the Essay contest, but why not every Club? Then every 9th grader in our District would know something about Rotary and our 4-Way Test. Think of the positive effect this would have on their lives, Interact Clubs, the public image of Rotary, and the future of Rotary. If your Club has not already indicated interest in the Essay contest for 2017-2018 please contact District Chair, Steve Grubb at s[email protected].




  1. Agree to sponsor the contest.
  2. Identify and contact the lead English teacher for the ninth grade class(es).
  3. Review the contest rules.
  4. Appoint a committee to evaluate the best essays submitted by the teachers from each School District.
  5. Select the Club winner(s) and submit the first place essay(s) to the District office by March 2, 2018.
  6. Recognize the Club winners, parents and teacher(s) and award certificates/prizes.




  1. Display rules for the contest on the District website.
  2. Provide cash awards for the District winners.
  3. Appoint a committee to evaluate the winning essays submitted by the Clubs and select the District winners. 
  4. Invite the winners, their parents, and teachers to the District Conference where prizes will be awarded to the top three students and the winner will present the winning essay.
  5. Display the winning essays on the District website.



Some Specifics Concerning the Contest

  • Original & personal work of the student. (9th grade students only, signed pledge required)
  • No more then 1500 words, double spaced. (Specific administrative instructions attached)
  • Written in Microsoft Word format.
  • No graphics or high lighted text.
  • Must be available to be published in the press.
  • Must be approved by the student’s parents.
  • Critical dates established and followed by all concerned for the conduct of the contest.
  • Initial screening of nominated essays is performed by the local school English department faculty. The most competitive essays (6-12) are then given to the sponsoring Rotary Club for final evaluation. 
  • A committee of the sponsoring Rotary Club evaluates the essays in accordance with an established Evaluation Guide. (copy attached)
  • Finalists, parents, and teachers are recognized at a sponsoring Rotary Club function and awards presented.
  • Press release, with photo(s), passed to local press. 
  • The winning essay from each Club is forwarded to the District Office by March 2, 2018.



  • A District-wide Four-Way Test Essay contest will continue in the 2017-18 Rotary year.
  • The winning Essays from all participating District Clubs must be in the District Office by March 2, 2018 to allow sufficient time for District judging, notifying the winners, and listing their names in the 2018 District Conference program.
  • Monetary awards: First Place - $500, Second Place - $300, Third Place - $100



Four-Way Essay Contest District Contact:

Steve Grubb

Tel(Cell): (717) 576-8145

E-mail: [email protected]