Three Pleasant Valley High School juniors have won the 2013 West End Rotary Essay Contest.

The winners are: Nina Rose M. Giambalvo, first place; Rachel Wenrich, second, and Katheryn Hull, third. The students received certificates of achievement and monetary awards in the amounts of $150, $100 and $75, respectively. They were honored at the regular Thursday breakfast meeting of the club in Brodheadsville by club members and Pleasant Valley High School Principal John Gress.

The club has forwarded the first-place essay to Rotary International District 7410, where it will be judged along with the essays from approximately 50 high schools in Northeast Pennsylvania. The district essay awards will be presented in June. Some 100 students entered the West End essay contest. This year’s topic was “Describe your personal role model and how that person influenced you to make a difference in your community.”

Nina Rose Giambalvo selected her mother, Tracey, as her role model and indicated that her parents “felt it was an important value to contribute to the family and neighborhood because charity starts at home and our neighborhood is important to our home.” Nina volunteers for several organizations including the LEO and KEY clubs at her high school, Wesley Enhanced Living, Mrs. Bush’s Personal Care Homes and AWSOM, the Animal Welfare Society of Monroe County. She is a member of the Pocono Medical Explorers, a junior sergeant-at-arms for the American Legion Unit 928 and is active in the local Italian heritage group.

Rachel Wenrich wrote that her role model, actor Jennifer Lawrence, inspired her “to volunteer for something that you are passionate about,” which in her case is volunteering at an animal shelter, the Special Olympics, helping to build a memorial garden, participating in Relay for Life, donating her clothing to families in need and teaching children to ride horses through the Equi-Librium program for disabled youth.

Katheryn Hull wrote that her older brother was her personal role model and inspired her to participate in her community by volunteering at a daycare center, and teaching autistic children to ride horses at the local Equi-Librium horse farm.

“Rotary sponsor programs such as the essay contest because they help students improve their writing abilities, self-confidence and leadership skills,” said essay contest Chair Elaine Ackroyd-Kelly. “It also encourages young people to embrace community service early in their lives and careers.” Those comments were echoed by West End Rotary Club President Jill Rehrig, who thanked school officials and parents for stressing the importance of those values.

West End Rotary is part of Rotary International, a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service and encourages high ethical standards in all vocations. At the local level the club conducts several fundraisers to support students, firefighters, police, libraries, the Pleasant Valley Ecumenical Network and other organizations within the community.

The club meets at 7:30 a.m. most Thursdays at the Western Pocono Community Library in Brodheadsville.