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Creekside student a top philosopher

The question “What is mightier: the pen or the sword?” has been a philosophical favorite for centuries. A first grader from Creekside Elementary was awarded recently for her answer in a national competition.

Kayla Morris won second place as America’s Most Philosophical First Grader for her entry in this year’s 2010 Kids Philosophy Slam challenge.

Her entry was simple: “The pen is mightier than the sword: People should write things down and talk to each other instead of fighting.”

Kayla’s was one of 27 entries submitted from kindergarten through fifth graders from Creekside and Mount Zion Elementary schools.

“Philosophy is something lacking in most American educations but is often taught in other countries,” said Barbara Patterson, gifted resource teacher. “The program gives the kids an opportunity to think about their world and use their talents — whether it’s words or art — to compete in a national competition.”

Students submitted answers in the form of poems, essays and art. Many students emphasized the importance of the peace of the pen or the power of the sword, while others balanced the two.

Kids Philosophy Slam “give[s] kids a voice, and inspire[s] them to think by unlocking their intellectual and creative potential through a unique yet powerful philosophical forum,” according to its mission statement.

The program challenges students to think outside the box and evaluate the world and value system. For two weeks students also received a “philosophical thought of the day” — which included quotes from notable figures and philosophers — each day at school.

“A lot of adults and students don’t think twice about what their views of the world are,” Patterson said. “But we should be thinking about what our value systems are. It makes better thinkers, and better thinkers make better decisions.”