By Kris Perez - email
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A local student has won a national essay writing contest. Carli Woodyear of Sulphur was named a winner in Olive Garden's 13th-annual Pasta Tales essay writing contest. Carli answered the question "How would you use the Internet to change your community for the better?"
Woodyear, a student at Episcopal Day School in Lake Charles, wrote an essay about her plan to create a web site for people to locate and connect with family and friends after a natural disaster evacuation. The judges said Woodyear wrote a "well-developed essay that draws upon her personal experiences to advance her theme about using the Internet to host a web site to help cope with the chaos surrounding the storms."
A portion of Woodyear's essay reads, "When I evacuated during Hurricane Rita, we couldn't come back for three weeks. We lost track of our friends and were extremely worried about them. ...If a website is created it would help family and friends reconnect and locate each other. The same website could be used for other natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods all over the United States."
A winner was announced in each of 12 grades, and Woodyear's essay was selected as the best written by a fifth-grader. The winners of each grade received a $500 savings bond and dinner with their family at their local Olive Garden.
John Caron, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden said, "We are always captivated by the unique essays students submit and this year is no exception. We congratulate all of our student participants on a job well done."
The Pasta Tales essay contest is designed to encourage student writers to express themselves and improve their writing skills. Students entries were judged on creativity, adherence to theme, organization, grammar, punctuation and spelling by Olive Garden and the Quill and Scroll Society of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Iowa.