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Stafford County was theme for Thompson Middle School contest
Stafford County was the theme for a contest at Thompson Middle School, and the results made a lot of people proud.

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Date published: 4/10/2002

AGOOD SCHOOL project should be fun. It should be interesting. It should be challenging. And if it also can make students proud of where they livewell, you've got a winner.

That's just the case with the first annual Humanities Contest sponsored by the Rodney Thompson Middle School Parent-Teacher Organization.

Beginning in January, students were encouraged to submit entries in the following categories: poetry, short stories, essays, pencil drawings, painting, 3-D models, computer generated art (free creations in one class and program-assisted art in another) and photography. Students could submit two entries, but only one per category.

The contest theme: Stafford County.

"We're a new school and a new PTO, so we were looking for an idea or event that would be interesting and fun for the students and also contribute to their academics," said Patty Joshi, the chairman of the PTO's academic support committee that organized the project.

She said the idea for a humanities contest came from a school Web site in California.

"We added some categories and selected Stafford County as a theme because we just thought that would be a good starting point," Joshi said. "We intentionally left the topic broad to allow the students to be creative."

The results were impressive.

The writing categories included entries about county history, commentaries on the good things about living in Stafford and profiles of residents who have made
a difference--people like educator Anne E. Moncure and former supervisor Gordon Byram.

The drawings included pencil sketches of Aquia Episcopal Church, old and new things about Stafford, the county seal, the regional airport and even a collection of school mascots from throughout the county.

The photo category included a montage of county scenes, a view of Ferry Farm and a look at the crabbing business.

And the 3-D entries included
a detailed re-creation of an old cemetery, a bird's-eye view of the area around Hartwood Elementary School and a representation
of Abel Lake.

Joshi said some students tested their skills in new areas. Some who like to write, for example, also tried photography, drawing or the 3-D competition.

"What the contest accomplished was to make everyone proud to live in Stafford," Joshi said. "And I mean teachers and parents, as well as students.

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