News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

May 10, 2014

Letters of love

Nine Wilson students read essays about why their mothers deserve a rosebush

TERRE HAUTE — “My mom’s not perfect, but she’s as close as it gets!” writes Abbye Amerman about her mother Amanda Cockrell.

Amerman was one of nine seventh graders at Woodrow Wilson Middle School chosen to win a rosebush because of an essay describing Cockrell’s many fine qualities.

The “Why My Mom Deserves A Rosebush” project turned into a hit on Friday morning as nine students and their mothers received rosebushes through an essay-writing program by teacher Teresa Stuckey.

“She smiles at everyone she sees,” student Hudson Siddens wrote about his mother Addie Siddens.

“She always makes me happy,” student Morgan Thompson wrote about her mother Jill Thompson.

Branson Basham wrote that his mother Shana Wilson “makes amazing spaghetti that I could eat every day.”

Stuckey got the idea for the essay contest from personal experience.

Her own daughter Kayla Lindsay was in second grade at Consolidated Elementary School in 2003 when she won an essay contest by describing her mother as “a famous person to me.

In fact, Stuckey still has a copy of that essay that she uses as an example for her own students when she makes the essay assignment.

“I always read it to my students, and I tell them that it was written by a second grader, and theirs must be much better than hers because they are seventh graders,” she said.

The essay contest is a persuasive writing exercise and fits with the OREO concept of opinion stated, reasons, explanation or elaboration, and opinion restated.

This is Stuckey’s first year at Woodrow Wilson as a language arts teacher. She began her career as a science teacher at Honey Creek and West Vigo for 13 years, then she spent 11 years as a fifth-grade teacher at Sugar Creek Elementary. However, she has managed to work the mother’s day essay contest into her curriculum for about 10 years.

“It means so much to me,” she said of her daughter’s essay, “that I thought I’d do something like that for other moms.”

About 90 students submitted essays for consideration. Stuckey went through them first and selected the top 10 from each of her three seventh-grade classes. She then passed on those top picks to a panel of judges. They were supposed to pick the top two from each class, but that number was increased to the top three from each class due to the generosity of donations from Ryan Cummings at Apple House, and from Lowe’s and Menard’s. Also, Baesler’s Market donated cookies to share at the awards presentation.

Other winning essays were written by Ila Frazier about her mother Shannon Shouse-Hart, Alexis Manors about her mother Michelle Kyler, Megan Phipps about her mother Tammy Phipps, Abbe Baker and mother Bernice Helman, and Andrew Granda and mother Angie Granda.

Helman said she was planning to plant her rose bush in front of her house. Amerman said her rose bush would go in the front garden next to her lilacs.

The students stood on stage while their mothers sat nearby, and the students read their essays in front of their classmates, receiving much applause and quite a bit of laughter.

Images of the winning essays have been posted online at with a link to this article.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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