Rotary 4-Way Test: Student Essay Contest 2021

Amanda Gorman recites her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” during the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony in Washington, Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took oath of office on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. (DOD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II)

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Sponsored by the Richmond Rotary

Essays must be received by April 12, 2021


“Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman asks in her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb.”

Rotarians use the Four-Way Test to shed light on “what we think, say or do.” The Four-Way Test is meant “to encourage the ethical instincts in every person and constitutes a simple and practical guide for people of all cultures.”

Show us, in a well-organized essay of 1,000 words or less, how you would apply the Four-Way Test. Your essay should clearly identify a popular thought, speech, or activity, and evaluate it using the Four-Way Test.


All students enrolled in Richmond-area high schools (De Anza, Kennedy, Richmond, Salesian, Leadership, Making Waves, Middle College) are eligible.


Student essays will be judged on how well they apply the Four-Way Test. Creativity, organization, language and writing style will also be considered.

Essays must be received by Monday, April 12, 2021. Please submit your essay as a Word Document or PDF, double-spaced, to Rotary Club President Stacey Street and Program Chair Pierre Thompson.


First-place essay: $500, Second-place essay: $300, Third-place essay: $200.

The top three students will be invited to read their essay to the Richmond Rotary Club zoom meeting on April 30, 2021.


Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, and problem-solvers who share ideas, join leaders, and take action to create lasting change. To learn more about the Rotary Club of Richmond, California, please visit this page.


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