Saturday, June 14, 2008
Father Of The Year Essay Contest Finals
“My hero is not Superman or Wonder Woman. He doesn’t have super strength or lightning speed. But what he does have is courage." (Kaely Egan 7th Grade Level Winner---Blessed Sacrement about her Grandfather Charles Koones).
“A good father is a man who raises a child to be the best at their abilities. He is there for all the falls the child makes and every question that is unanswered." (Sabrina Redfield 12th Grade Winner--Dunbar Senior High on her mentor Javon Billups)
"My father means so much to me that words can not express. He is my support and my rock. From walking me to school on the first day to walking me down the aisle when I get married, I know that my father will always be there for me.” (Emmanuelle Elessa 8th Grade Winner--Sacred Heart on her father Daniel.)
Just a few of the words expressed by Essay Winner's at Our Washington Nationals 3rd Annual Father of The Year Awards. Not a single essay contestant older than 18 Years Old. The ceremony held last Sunday to honor Our Youths for appreciating their Fathers. Since Our Washington Nationals are out of town this Father's Day--the winners were announced on June 8th, 2007 during the homestand with The San Francisco Giants.
Over the past few months 569 children throughout the Washington DC area enrolled in Grades 1 through 12 wrote essay's about how important, their Father, Their Grandfather or Father Figure means to their lives and their well being. As you may recall, this past April--the field was narrowed down to 36 Finalists. 11 of Whom were honored for their writings on June 8th--while five more Fathers were honored as Father Of The Year Finalists. One Deserving Man was named "Father of The Year".
The Program runs with the support of The National Center for Fathering. The Kansas City, Missouri Non-Profit which pursues the goal of Father's taking the lead in their children's lives-not walking away. The Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals also participate in an Essay Contest in their respective cities.
“There is nothing greater than this program," stated Alphonso Maldon, Jr. Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Our Washington Nationals. "Everything we do with The Fathering Center. Everything you do to contribute to the success of this program—makes tomorrow a better day for all of us.”
Standing before a packed house in Suite 31 at New Nationals Park, Mr. Maldon shared the results and announced 11 different Essay Winners. The children and their father's all received plaques of commendation.
When Carey Casey (Chief Executive Officer of Fathers.com) proclaimed Mr. Shane Salter of Washington, DC as Father of The Year, Mr. Salter could barely hold back the tears from his son--Moye. “This is the absolute greatest honor I could have ever received by being recognized by my son as Father Of The Year," said Salter. "The real work now will be living up to it. This is just an incredible honor. I would have been proud of him if he had won an essay contest if writing on bubble gum. But this is just extraordinary that I am a hero in his eyes like this.”
There were some very touching essays by the finalists--that may well worth your time to read. Every single winning essay can be read here--at this link.
DC Councilman Harry Thomas--a father of five children himself--was on hand to thank all those that participated in the Essay Contest and said: “This is about life. You fail more in baseball than you succeed. And if you can learn from that message and stick with it—that’s exactly what being a father is all about. Learning. We don’t always make the right decisions. We have to make the decisions we see at that particular time for our children. And, as we all know, our children don’t always agree with us. Our .300 Batting Average may not be good enough for them. But it doesn’t mean you are doing a bad job. You have to stick with it. You have to care."
Passages from all the winning essays were read and Mr. Casey thanked all those fathers who are making the effort.
“In the richest most wealthy country in the world, I am tired of hearing all the noise about how terrible dads are. We have some daddies that are not standing up. We have some daddies that are not involved in their children’s lives. But, I am proud of you. All of you here today. Those of you who have done so. Thank you for all you do."
Javairia Henry 11th Grade Winner from Cardozo Senior High in the District gets the final word: "My Pop-Pop is the one who made me realize that anyone can be a dad—but it takes someone special to be a father. He is the father in my life that I thought I did not need. He never gave up on me."
Happy Father's Day To Each and Every Proud Dad Out There. This Is Your Day. Enjoy It.
PS--For all his efforts in The Washington, DC area to bring families together--Alphonso Maldon, Jr. was awarded a special commendation for community service by Mr. Casey and The National Center For Fathering.