Merced County Times Newspaper
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Contest honors Merced dad as ‘Father of Year’

My dad’s name is Patrick but I call him “Daddy”. My dad has a beard and he has a bald head. My dad’s favorite thing to do is play basketball with me. My dad hates when people step in his rocks. He is really good at building things. He is not good at picking out my clothes. One time he built a backflow with my brother. He always loves me inside his heart. I remember when we went to the Father Daughter Dance and I got to go to a restaurant. One time he climbed a tree when I was five. One time he made me a cowgirl hat at work. He is special to me because he loves me. I would like to spend more time with my dad playing PIG.


Stella McGowan
1st Grade / St. Paul School


Twenty-one fathers and father figures were honored at the 2019 Merced County Father of the Year Essay Awards Banquet at Atwater Valley Community School on June 11, with a St. Paul Lutheran School first-grader’s essay earning her father the top spot.

Stella McGowan wrote the winning essay about her father Patrick McGowan. In the essay, Stella shares a little about her father and some of their favorite things to do together. “He always loves me inside his heart. I remember when we went to the father daughter dance,” she wrote.

In its 18th year, the essay contest is open to all kindergarten through 12th grade students in Merced County and highlights the special role fathers and father figures play in a child’s life.

Local and state dignitaries joined the honorees and Merced County All Dads Matter Program Coordinator Lamar Henderson gave the keynote address.

Students are asked to write a 300-word essay titled, “What My Father Means To Me,” and a team of Merced County volunteers read each essay and choose the top three essays from each grade level. Fathers are given the option of writing a response, which may be submitted along with their child’s essay. Past Father of the Year recipients and community leaders interview the winning students’ fathers and father figures to determine who will be named the new Merced County Father of the Year.

Students can write the essay about their father, stepfather, grandfather, or a father-like figure in their life.

For more information, contact Stacie Arancibia (209) 381-5910.

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