Essay Contest

2010 Annual Essay Contest

The third Annual Essay Contest for the fifth grade students at University Academy Charter Public School, was an outstanding success. The event was co-sponsored by Gamma Beta chapter of Sigma Phi Omega (SPO), and the local Older Women's League (OWL) chapter.

Sigma Phi Omega is a National Honorary Academic and Professional Society in Gerontology. The local chapter, Gamma Beta, is located at the UMKC Center on Aging Studies, 106-G, Manheim Hall. 6801 Holmes Road, in Kansas City, MO.

OWL was founded in 1980, and is the only national grassroots organization dedicated to providing a voice for mid-life and older American women. The local Heartland Chapter web site is:

Again this year, all students in the fifth grade at the University Academy were asked to write an essay on "An Important Older Person in My Life." Judging was a two-stage process, with one panel of judges choosing the top 20 finalists (in no given order), and a second panel choosing the top six finalists from the top 20 entries. The top six included first, second and third place winners, and three "Honorable Mention" winners.

On June 5th, a recognition ceremony was held in the cafeteria of the University Academy, to honor the winners of this year's contest.

First place winner, Jovanni May, wrote about her grandfather. The title of her essay was "The House of James."

Photo of Jovanni May

Jovanni May is pictured above with Mrs. Christine Cowan,
a 5th grade teacher at the University Academy

Rashaud Mansaw won second place for his essay written about his grandmother, with an essay titled "10 Reasons Why My Grandma is the Best."

  Rashaud Mansaw with his award

Rashaud Mansaw showing his award

Third place was taken by Ronney Goods, for writing about his uncle. The title seems to say it all for Ronney: "The Greatest Uncle in the World.

Ronney Goode & Uncle

Ronney Goode poses with his "Greatest Uncle"

Honorable Mention awards were presented to (left to right, below): Che' Williams, for writing "My Best Teacher," Breauna L. Roberson, author of "Grandma's Music," and Nzar El-Scari, who penned "My Grandma." All three of the Honorable Mention recipients wrote about their grandmothers.


This contest has become a popular event for Sigma Phi Omega, OWL, and the fifth grade students and faculty at the Plaza Academy Charter School. Special thanks are in order for the families of these students who attended the event and gave special meaning to it for all the participants. In fact, we thought you might enjoy watching the slide show below, to get a better sense of what a good time everyone had.


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Enroll: follow this link and click on "Applying to the College of Arts and Sciences" and then on "Graduate Certificate in Gerontology"


Tuition and Fees Rates

Quiz on Aging


Contact Info

Center Director:
Joan McDowd
#314 Cherry Hall
Phone: (816) 235-2490

Linda Breytspraak
106-I Manheim Hall
Phone:  (816) 235-1744