Scholarships for Local Kids

Our Rotary club offers essay-driven scholarships for high school seniors. Students are encouraged to consider how “The 4-Way Test” can be used in everyday decision-making and to express their thoughts in an essay that relates a case or story where they applied these principles in their daily life.

Students in their final year of high school are eligible to participate, preparing an essay of 500 to 1,000 words in length, and using a topic of their choice that incorporates the use of the Rotary 4-Way Test.

Scholarship Guidelines

  • Winning essays receive $500 to $1000 scholarship toward their advanced education.
  • Must be used within 2 years of award. If not used, funds return to the Peninsula Rotary Foundation Scholarship Fund
  • Applicable to any institution that offers a 2- or 4-year degree or a certified/credentialed program
  • Judged by Scholarship Committee and Peninsula Rotary Foundation Board Members;  two to three essays are chosen each year.


  • Open to any student enrolled or home-schooled within the Ocean Beach School District attendance area
  • Open to students related to local Rotarian members
  • Student must have a minimum 2.5 GPA

Essay Guidelines


  • 500-750 words
  • 12-14 point font
  • Single spaced


  • The work of each contestant must be original; it must explain how it relates to his/her life experiences and/or society in general.
  • Personal Narrative – Think about the guiding principles of Rotary defined in the Four-Way Test. Tell a true story about a time when you or someone you know was faced with a decision or a challenge. Tell if the person followed the principles in the Four-Way Test in making the decision or responding to the challenge and in what way(s) and why you feel those principles led to a positive outcome. Or if the person did not follow these principles, tell in what way(s) and why do you think the outcome might have been more positive if they had been followed.
  • Expository – Think about the guiding principles of Rotary defined in the Four-Way Test Write an essay to explain how you would see these principles working as an effective guide to your beliefs and actions as well as those of your peers.

judging Guidelines

  • Insightful ideas and content
  • Organization and cohesiveness
  • Genuine voice and connection to the topic
  • Word choice and fluency
  • Adherence to contest expectations

In 1932 Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor created the Four-Way Test, a code of ethics adopted by Rotary 11 years later.  The test, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, asks “Of all the things we think, say, or do:

 Is it the TRUTH?

Is it FAIR to all concerned?

Will it build GOODWILL and better FRIENDSHIPS?

Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

Application Includes

  • Ilwaco High School application packet which includes
    • A 500-750 word essay addressing the Rotary Four-Way Test
    • GPA, SAT or ACT scores
    • Financial need statement
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Statement of community service, work experience and/or school activities

For an application packet,
contact Ilwaco High School.

Student Goals

  •  Students will evaluate and advocate for the Rotary Four-Way Test as a meaningful guide when considering personal intentions, decisions, and actions.
  • Students have a choice of writing about the value and application of the Four-Way test in either an expository essay or a personal narrative. Students will write an essay attesting to the value and application of the Four-Way Test.
  • Students are asked to think about the nature and importance of truth, fairness, goodwill, friendship and benefiting others in their lives.
  • The primary goal of the essay is to communicate a coherent, insightful, well-crafted expression of the importance, nature, and challenges of living a life of integrity enhanced by service to others.


Roy Disney once said, “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”  Values are principles, standards, or qualities you consider worthwhile or desirable.  Values will vary from person to person because they depend on your personal judgment.  They describe the core of your character and the purpose for which you live. They are used as guiding principles, rules if you will, to direct your behaviors and to give your life purpose.

Like individuals, organizations such as Rotary also work to define their core values as a guide to decision-making and purposeful action.

Core Values – Rotary is a service club made up of individual members who come together to embrace a common mission of service.  The quality and success of any service club is directly related to the quality and success of its members.  In addition to the character, values, and abilities of its members, a club’s success is also directly related to the nature of its core values and its commitment to them.

Guiding Principles – Rotarians are guided by four fundamental ethical questions characterized as the Four-Way Test:

“Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”