Editor's Note: Ally Tomlinson, a student at Dairyland School, won first place in the recent Rotary Middle School Speech Contest. The theme of the contest was, "The Three Best Things About Chowchilla are ..." Her award-winning speech follows:
Chowchilla. When I hear that name I think of three things: safe environment, tight knit community and a rural community.
Chowchilla has a safe environment because there are no big gangs. I love how Chowchilla has a tight-knit community because everyone knows each other. The word "rural" comes to mind, because, well Chowchilla is most definitely rural!
Chowchilla has a safe environment because there aren't any large gangs hanging around town harassing people all of the time. Most cities, such as Fresno, have multiple gangs. I mean when don't you hear, "In downtown Fresno ..." on the news in the morning.
There is always some kind of mishap in Fresno with gangs and I am sure glad our city has nothing to do with it! Chowchilla also has a lower crime rate than most cities. I just love how I don't have to go to bed at night worrying if there will be a drive-by in town. When you live in Chowchilla, those kinds of things don't really cross your mind. Chowchilla is one of the safest cities I know and I am proud to be a resident of it.
Most towns are the same, with the same crimes everyday, but Chowchilla is not the same, it is unique. In most minds, Chowchilla is just a little country town, but it is my little country town, and I love it for so many reasons.
Chowchilla has a tight-knit community. There is no question about it. Chowchilla only has a population of approximately 19,044 people. I adore that about our city because that means that everyone knows each other.
I understand that some people consider that a bad thing, but I say it is one of the best things about Chowchilla. Because Chowchilla has such a tight-knit community, more people know who you are and hear about your achievements. When my achievements are in the newspaper, I get calls from different people congratulating me.
Chowchilla being a tight-knit community, also means you grow up with a lot more people, and friends don't split up and go to different high schools. Chowchilla has only one high school, unlike most cities. I also love how the same people who support you in 4-H, support you in sports, school activities and other aspects of your life. Chowchilla having a tight-knit community makes it one of the best cities around.
People don't understand the importance of a tight-knit community, but I do. Having a tight-knit community means that you are protected and you have people by your side when you need them. Everyone is connected in some way in Chowchilla. Whether it is work, a distant cousin, or even a friend of your parents from high school. Chowchilla's community makes it the best town out there no matter what you compare it to.
Another great part of Chowchilla's community is how it is rural. I love it. I have always lived in the country and moving to Chowchilla was awesome. I love agriculture and 4-H, too, and Chowchilla supports both of those things. Chowchilla 4-H is an important club in Chowchilla. They help out around the city and represent their town at local fairs. I am so glad that, because of Chowchilla's community, our city is able to have that option.
Our rural community allows us to have dairies and farms, too. My uncle is a farmer and it is pretty cool! The farming and dairies in Chowchilla also open up a lot of job opportunities. Many of the residents in Chowchilla are either dairy farmers, farmers or related to one of the two. The farming and dairies also provide fresh soil and good food. I think it is cool to know that some of the food in the grocery store cane from my town. I love the country! I love the dirt, the animals, everything. That is why Chowchilla's community is so amazing to me.
Chowchilla is an all around great town. I don't have to worry about murderers or gangs in this town and that is something you can't say about most cities. Chowchilla, having a tight-knit community, provides many opportunities, such as getting noticed for a sport on a sports team in high school or excelling in school or other activities. Last, but definitely not least, Chowchilla's rural community helps support extracurricular activities such as 4-H or FFA which can help you get into a good college because colleges provide scholarships to students who participate in 4-H or FFA.
Chowchilla can be seen with different perspectives, but in mine, it is the best city, and I am proud to call it my home.