For her efforts, the Cloverdale Middle school student was awarded a certificate and a check for $50. Her teacher and sponsor Judy Vallejo received a $100 check to purchase supplies for her classes that include plastics education.
"I am so proud of Cedar. This is a contest that mostly has high school students participating. It is really an honor for her to place second in this contest," said Vallejo.
The essays could only be between 500 and 1,000 words. They were graded on topic depth and coverage, factual accuracy, writing, grammar, creativity, concrete details, development, introduction and logical sequence.
Some of the topics included talking about plastics in the environment and their usefulness in society. Others explored how plastics benefit mankind and improve our lifestyle.
"Her subject set her apart from the others. Her grammar and writing skills were also excellent," said Ray Amos with SPE and Boston Scientific.
Amos was at the middle school with Dan Stratton, president of SPE to present Cedar with her award. Cedar is the daughter of Celia Woodworth and Jay Woodworth who were both at the ceremony Monday.
In her essay ,Cedar compared her basketball shoes to those her grandfather wore in the 1930s as well the shoes worn by players in the 1970s.
"My basketball shoes have come a long way since the gummy rubber-soled high tops my Grandfather wore in the 1930s. I have his photograph displaying black canvas shoes with natural soles," she said in her essay.
She goes on to describe the shoes she wears today and the many choices athletes have. She talks about polyolefin midsoles for motion control and cushioning and clear thermoplastic elastomer tubes in the sole to absorb impact.
She relates these properties to keeping ball players safe. Cedar goes on to describe plastics used in ankle supports, the playing surface in the gym as well as the backboards and the flexible and absorbent uniforms of today.
She ends her essay saying, "The next time I soar in for a lay up, I'll think of the designers dreaming up new ways to support my feet and ankles, heighten my jump and essentially join in my game."
The first place winner was a high school student from Owen Valley and third place was a student from North Davies High School.
"To place in this contest in such a high level is very impressive. The area Cedar competed in included high school students from Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. To rise up to this level is quite impressive," said Amos.
Two years ago, teacher Judy Vallejo had another winner from one of her classes who also placed second in the contest.
Vallejo works with Amos and SPE to teach the students in her class about the impact plastic has in their lives.
She also provides information with Amos' help about careers in engineering. Amos told the students his company has over 200 engineering jobs and they need more people in the field.
Amos reported that since he began working with SPE in 2003 and visiting schools in several counties, six students in those areas have gone to school to be engineers and are working at Boston Scientific now.
"This essay contest allows kids to research about plastics and learn to appreciate what plastics can do," said Amos.
For information about SPE contact Amos at 812-829-5385 or visit their Web site at www.4spe.org.