The Outer Banks Voice – “A Season of Giving” at Manteo College


“A season of generosity” at Manteo college

By story submitted on January 2, 2022

Pictured are Dr John Farely, Elisabeth Writtenberry, Sophie Austin, David Twiddy, Tami Harper, Nancy Gaddy, Finn Gaddy.

By Carrie Houseknecht, Manteo College Librarian

This time of year is known as a time to give to others. Recently, parents of Manteo Middle School students Mr. and Mrs. Finn Gaddy decided to give students the opportunity to experience the joy of giving.

In October, Mr. Gaddy reached out to principal Tami Harper to organize a student essay contest. The competition would be open to all levels and would take place in language arts classes. The topic chosen was “A Season of Generosity”.

Students were asked to write about something they thought would improve our school or community. Two lucky students would then be chosen and provide the money to fund their idea. 1st The winner of the place would receive $ 3,000 and the 2nd place would be $ 2,000. A video was created and shared with the students to explain the guidelines for entering the competition.

The essays were independently assessed by all ELA teachers, voted on and two winners were selected. Topics the students covered ranged from issues they found in the community, such as homelessness and problem-solving in schools, such as getting robots to help clean the school and helping guards . Other trials included ideas to improve our school, such as a butterfly garden, tarpaulins for our baseball fields, and toiletry dispensers in the bathrooms.

All of the essays were well thought out and really showed the students’ desire to help others in the school and the community. After reading the essays, Principal Harper said, “You could really see in the essays I read, what really great, insightful and caring students we have at Manteo Middle School, which I already knew, but it was is nice to remember. The students have shown compassion for our hard-working caretakers as well as the homeless in our community. Overall they did a fantastic job.

After the winners were chosen, Ms. Harper contacted Mr. Gaddy to let him know what he would fund. Mr. Gaddy was a bit surprised by the 1st place winner. It was for a good reason. 1st Place winner Sophie Austin wrote about creating a butterfly garden for Manteo College and all the learning opportunities it would offer our students.

The reason Mr. Gaddy was brought back was because he was so touched. Her mother, Lucy Finch Gaddy, loved butterflies and in her memory a butterfly garden was established in 2009 at Peace College in her memory, titled “The Gaddy Garden”. He was so touched that he decided to increase the donation amount to $ 4,000 for the butterfly garden and $ 3,000 for the 2sd winning place.

The 2nd place winner was Elisabeth Writtenberry. Her essay spoke about her real concern for the homeless in our community. She wanted to be able to help provide additional funding for the community program, Room in the Inn, which helps provide a place to sleep for the homeless during the winter months as well as homeless support from our community.

Elisabeth said that “homelessness was near and dear to her heart”. She said the best part of winning was knowing that she was responsible for helping the hostel room receive the $ 3,000 in extra funding.

Manteo Middle School, along with Principal Tami Harper, are very grateful for the funding they have received from the Charles Finch Gaddy Foundation. This essay competition is just another example of Mr. and Mrs. Gaddy’s desire to improve learning opportunities for students here at Manteo Middle School.




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