Wins $500, plus $3,500 for county’s Girls on the Run program
by Terri Hogan
Sara Fritschi has learned to love her freckles.
That — and, more importantly, her writing skills — helped the 9-year-old Olney girl win a nationwide essay contest sponsored by Girls on the Run and Secret deodorant.
Girls on the Run, serving more than 130,000 girls in more than 200 cities across North America, helps teach self-respect and healthful living through interactive and creative running activities, games and discussions, according to the nonprofit.
Sara said she was excited to learn she was one of eight winners in the third- through fifth-grade age group. Representatives from the organization came to St. Peter’s School in Olney on June 12 to present her with a $500 check, plus a $3,500 check for the Montgomery County chapter of Girls on the Run, to be used as scholarship money for girls who cannot afford to participate.
“I feel proud of myself for winning, but I’m really happy because I get to help other girls be a Girl on the Run,” she said.
Sara’s mother, Helene Fritschi, started the program at St. Peter’s two years ago. This year, about 25 girls in grades 3 through 5 participated twice weekly after school during the fall and spring.
“Sara loves participating in the lessons and learning about how to be confident, positive and strong on the inside and out,” her mother said. “It is a fantastic program that perhaps changes the way the girls see themselves and each other. It is truly a celebration of all things girl, while letting them run around and have fun.”
Through the contest, participants were encouraged to share “How Girls on the Run and the ‘Mean Stinks’ campaign help me to ‘Gang Up For Good’ and put an end to girl-to-girl bullying.”
Essays were judged on creativity and originality, appropriateness of essay to theme and inspirational value.
In her essay, Sara wrote that when she was younger, she was often teased about her freckles.
“Now I have learned new strategies to know what to say, and how to have better friendships,” she said.
Instead of seeing “ugly freckles” when she looks in the mirror, Sara wrote that she now sees “beauty marks” that make her feel beautiful.
Sara splurged on a video game, but put the rest of her winnings in the bank, to be used for her college savings.