CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- A Cleveland High School student compares helping others recover from tornado devastation to taking a mission trip to help someone somewhere else.
Sara Ann Ownbey dissected that comparison in an essay that won this year's writing contest for Keep America Beautiful's Cleveland and Bradley County chapter.
Ownbey wrote that she has been a young volunteer on mission trips, but closer to home, after the April 2011 tornadoes, she and her family, whose home was damaged in the storms, were the beneficiaries of school friends rushing to help.
"The first thing you must do when wanting to make a difference in our environment is to be willing and able to help," she wrote.
She was one of three essay winners this year, all from Cleveland High.
Brandon Caylor reviewed what Cleveland and Bradley County do for the environment, from household hazardous waste collection day to the Mouse Creek Greenway's impact on nature and people.
Hannah Aubrey Arrington wrote that the smallest environmental effort can make a difference.
The aim of the contest, which finishes the local version of KAB's Great American Cleanup each year, is education, which is reflected in a wide variety of essay topics, local Director Joanne Maskew said.
"Each of these students is already making a difference, locally and globally," teacher Jeannie Cuervo said.
"And we have had Bradley winners, too," joked W.W. Johnson of the Westside Ruritan Club, a former county school board member.
There were 31 entries this year, judged by the Cleveland Associated Industries' Environmental Committee. The contest is sponsored annually by the Westside Ruritan Club.