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Lamar student negotiates his way into semifinals

A young man who entered a contest for the first time became a semifinalist, putting him in the running to earn a $250 college scholarship.
Ethan Swift, a fifth-grade student at Lamar School, learned about the Students Rise to the Challenge scholarship competition from his adviser and submitted an essay last month. Ethan had to write an essay that provided a real world example of how he was using knowledge and skills that he had learned in the classroom.
That real world example involved a graphic organizer that expressed his desire to have an iPhone when he was younger. The graphic organizer, Ethan said, helped him keep his thoughts organized. The organization is accomplished by drawing a circle in the middle of the page and having specific thoughts and details branch out from that shape.
His essay explained the supporting details of how to convince his parents that he needed a phone. Those details included, “I want one, I would just play games, no calls or texts unless there was an emergency, and fun and cool.”
Although his essay earned him one of the five finalists’ positions for the entire State of Tennessee, he did not receive that iPhone from his parents. Instead, he received an iPad, which he uses to play games.
“The school has been very supportive. I am very proud of him,” said his mother, Jamie Swift.
Friends and family had the opportunity to vote for Ethan on the State Collaborative on Reforming Education’s Facebook page, which closes at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15.
As of Friday, Ethan was ahead in his division, grades three through five, by almost 170 votes.
If he wins his division, he will go through an interview process with the SCORE team.
Ethan has earned straight A’s since he began attending Lamar.
“Science is my favorite subject because you get to do experiments,” he said.
For his third-grade science fair project, he did an experiment testing how tomatoes compare when grown in water, with no fluid and in milk.
Ethan enjoys reading in his spare time. That reading currently includes the book, “Saving Shiloh.”
“I’ve read the first two Shiloh books,” Ethan said.
The young man also has been known to write short stories.
In addition to excelling in school, Ethan enjoys playing baseball, which keeps him very busy.
“I just grew up playing the sport,” he said.
In the spring, Ethan began playing baseball for the traveling Tennessee Braves team, which earned a trip to the state championship. He said they were in third or fourth place and then it started to rain.
Ethan also plays for the county ball team for Lamar School in the summer leagues.
He mainly plays right field, but occasionally plays first base.
When Ethan is not playing baseball, he spends time outside with his younger sister, Emily. He said there is a large tree in the yard that they stand under waiting for the leaves to fall.
“When the wind blows, we like to catch the leaves,” he said.