I had the absolute pleasure to return to the Confluence area Tuesday and meet up Eric Peach and Tony DeRiggi along with 3 of this year’s essay winners. It was a warm evening and no wanted to leave the river. I feel the river and its canyons are in good hands with students like these looking out for it.In the YouTube video link below you can watch 3rd place Toby Quills share his essay.
On Tuesday several volunteers with PARC Protect American River Canyons invited winners from the 2013 High School Essay Contest to gather at the confluence to receive their awards. With the river flowing and the sun casting shadows on the canyon the students read their essays for all to hear. The top 3 winners all came from Placer High School.
1st Place, $500: Kellyn McDonald, Placer HS
2nd place, $250: Garrett Michael Jordan, Placer HS
3rd place, $250: Toby Kugar Qualls, Placer HS
4th place, $100: Kristen Meadows, Rocklin HS
5th place, $100: Jedidiah Garcia Dowell, Golden Sierra HS
Due to the unexpected number of excellent essays, PARC added 3 more scholarship winners for a total of $1200 in scholarship funds this year.
The students wrote inspiring essays on the question:
“What do the American River and its canyons mean to me and my community, and what should be done to protect them for future generations.”
Toby Qualls is a senior at Placer high, Toby is also a long distance runner and writer and wrote about running in the canyon.
The students shared their family and personal connections to the River Canyons, which often included hiking, rafting, jogging or fishing experiences. They explained how the canyons are important to our local community and economy, and offered suggestions for protecting the canyons for future generations. Their ideas included promoting river stewardship education of youth, such as training Youth River Ambassadors, and obtaining Wild and Scenic Protection for the Canyons.