2020 Essay Contest Winner Jordan Dodson

Joseph Benton

2020 Essay Contest Winner Jordan Dodson 3

We didn’t know if we would have a contest this year because of the pandemic, but as you can see, we have ourselves a winner who contacted us to see if we were still having our contest despite the pandemic.

Pictured here is Jordan Dodson receiving her check from the Noble Grand Joseph Benton and the Vice Grand Veronica Benton. Normally we “grip and grin” but we had to wear masks and avoid the handshake. What a year it’s been!

We are pleased to announce the winner for our essay contest and notify her that she won our scholarship prize. Jordan Dodson was handed her essay contest prize which will be mailed to her school for her tuition. Jordan is attending the University of California Los Angeles remotely in her hometown of Santa Maria until the pandemic restrictions are lifted. When asked what her major will be, she said she plans to study Biomechanical Engineering. We at the Odd Fellows wish Jordan the best of luck in her studies and congratulate her on her win of $1,000 toward her tuition. We also hope to receive news of her success at school and in her chosen career path and perhaps she will visit us again where she will be just as welcome as she was when she won. We appreciate Jordan’s willingness to learn more about Odd Fellows and Rebekahs and to write about us. We hope and pray that next year we will not have these same pandemic issues and our theme will not be about how the pandemic has affected us. Who will win next?

Winning Essay:
“What Has the Pandemic Taught You about Friendship, Love and Truth?”
by Jordan Dodson

The beginning of the pandemic felt apocalyptic. It was scary. For the first time in my life, school was completely cancelled, stores were closed and supplies were extremely limited. Like many families, my family suffered from company layoffs, and at-risk relatives. Now more than ever have I been concerned in finding the truth. I started to watch news updates, read articles and constantly stayed connected online. Updates about covid-19, movements for equality, riots, upcoming elections and even global tragedies have flooded the media. Being informed about the world around me eased my nerves. The truth can be enlightening, but also disheartening.

Watching the news exposed me to racial injustices in the death’s of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, it showed the tragedies of war and poverty in Lebanon and it revealed just how drastically the virus could affect a perfectly healthy person. It is almost impossible now for me to ignore it and go about my normal life. This pandemic has taught me to not only find the truth for myself, but to share it as well. To me this looks like, preaching safe hygiene habits, sharing stories and tragedies online and correcting racist habits around my own family.

The world as we know it is constantly changing around us. The pandemic has taught me how to show love differently. Ways to show friends and family that you love them have completely changed. It has created a culture where we have to stay away from each other to protect each other. Before the pandemic my big Filipino family of more than 25 would gather every Sunday. Instead my family, constantly has zoom calls and celebrates birthday’s through drive-by parades. As high-school abruptly ended for me, I never got to say goodbye to friends in person instead we signed online yearbooks and had a virtual graduation ceremony. Complete strangers send farewells with new terms like “stay safe!”. Practicing social distancing also shows how much we care for each other our friends and family but in our community as well. While the pandemic changes how we’re able to show love, it does not change the amount of love we give.

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