06/21/07 — Goldsboro teen shares wisdom on abstinence, wins essay prize

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Goldsboro teen shares wisdom on abstinence, wins essay prize

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on June 21, 2007 1:45 PM

When Caroline Finch decided to write an essay about abstaining from sex until marriage, she wrote like she was sharing her thoughts with a younger girl trying to make the decision for herself.

Her words -- and her presentation -- earned the Goldsboro 18-year-old a $1,000 scholarship and $200 shopping gift certificate Wednesday.

She said she came up with the idea by picturing a younger girl and what she would tell that girl about her decision.

"I just thought of how I'd like to tell her about how special she is and how precious her virginity is," Miss Finch said after being announced the winner of the county-wide essay contest Wednesday during the regular meeting of the Wayne County Board of Health.

Miss Finch, a home-schooler, read her essay to the board.

"Setting boundaries is important. Write them down. Tell your parents, your friends about your decision. And if your boyfriend does not agree, he is not respecting your decision," the essay said.

Health Education Director Carolyn King said this was the fifth annual Abstinence Essay Award contest and the second year the Health Department had presented scholarships. The money was garnered from contributions made by private organizations, businesses and civic groups. Among those contributing were The Goldsboro News-Argus, the Knights of Columbus, the Wayne Dental Society, the Goldsboro Exchange Club, Curtis Media Group and the Wayne Council on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention.

Even Health Department employees held a silent auction in November, and Health Board members contributed. She said the essay committee was able to gather more than was needed for this year's winners, and the amount left will be used for next year's contest.

And the essay writers were all deserving, she said.

"In my opinion they were all winners, and it was a difficult job to narrow it down," she said. Teens turned in 51 essays. None of the judges knew where each essay came from or who wrote it.

The second-place winner, Brittney Smith, who recently graduated from Southern Wayne High School, received a $500 scholarship and a $100 gift certificate to Berkeley Mall.

Third place went to Abbi Davis, a rising junior at Charles B. Aycock High School. She received a $300 scholarship and a $50 gift certificate to Berkeley Mall.