The Optimist Club of West St. Paul awarded the winners of their annual essay contest on Wednesday, April 6. The top three essay winners were presented with a medal and a cash prize. The top finisher, Ernest Moindi, will go on to the district essay contest and a chance to win a $2,500 scholarship. Sam Dereje placed second and Annmarie Avalos came in third. All three are sophomores at Two Rivers High School.
The essay topic for this year was “How Does an Optimist Mindset Change My Tomorrow.” Essays had to be between 700 and 800 words.
Here are some excerpts from the winning essays.
First place: Ernest Moindi
“Optimism plays a huge role in my life. Everyday I keep an optimistic mindset and it helps me get through my day. The first thing it helps me get through is school. There will be times when I do not want to work and this will sometimes get me in a gloomy pessimistic mood because there’s so much work to accomplish. The words I think of to get me out of this mindset are perseverance and positivity.”
Second place: Sam Dereje
“Optimism is a big factor in deciding a person’s future because of the opportunities it could open. Being encircled by people who care about your improvement better helps you navigate through your future. Throughout your life, keeping a keen eye on the opportunities that come your way accelerates your chance of reaching the goal you have set for yourself.”
Third place: Annmarie Avalos
“Having hope is a form of having an optimistic mindset. For example, my father is an immigrant… He used to live in a place where conditions were bad… When he finally decided it was time to start anew and have a better life elsewhere he had to make the decision to leave his family behind… Having hope allowed him to face many challenges because he knew there would be reward and prosperity ahead.”
Next Optimist Contest: Visual Arts
The next student competition for the Optimist Club is their first ever Visual Arts Competition. Students who were 11 or younger on October 1, 2021 are invited to draw or paint a picture based on the topic of optimism. Students must submit a photo of their artwork along with the entry form to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 18.
The local club will offer a prize to the winner in each category, and winners will be submitted to the Optimist International contest, where scholarships are available.
Local coverage in West St. Paul only happens with your generous support.