Congratulations to the winners of the Westchester Optimist Essay Contest. The topic of this year’s contest was to write an essay about someone in your life who embodies the characteristics of a true Optimist (as spelled out in the Optimist Creed) and why.

West Miami Middle School hosted the event and approximately 800 W.M.M.S. students submitted essays; of these, the W.M.M.S. teachers submitted 30 essays for review to the Westchester Optimist Essay committee. The winners were:

  1. William Torres ($250 prize)
  2. Aurora Vazquezbello ($150 prize), and
  3. Jorge Vega ($75 prize).

Also receiving Honorable Mention (and a $25 prize) were:

  • Vannessa Torres
  • Valeria Fagundo
  • Yaretsa Carmenata

The awards were presented during the “Literacy Night” event at W.M.M.S. and the prize recipients read their award-winning compositions. The event was well attended by parents and students.

The Optimist Club of Westchester wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to Ms. Colleen Del Terzo, W.M.M.S. Principal for hosting the contest and award ceremony. Additional thanks to all the W.M.M.S. teachers and staff who worked with us in promoting this contest and a very special thanks to the W.M.M.S. media specialist, Mrs. Ana Medina Fernandez for her coordinating efforts between the school and the club.

Ana Medina Fernandez (WMMS), Fred Gonzaga (WO), Lourdes Carroll (WO)


The club also sponsored an essay contest at Banyan Elementary; the topic was: My Hero. Winners were selected by the Essay committee and prizes were awarded at the “Book Night” event at Banyan. The winners were:

  1. Natalie Espinoza ($150 prize)
  2. Juliet Fernandez ($100 prize)
  3. Juan Trujillo ($50 prize)

Receiving Honorable Mention (and a $15 prize) were: Nicole Hernandez, Xavier Dodd, Ricardo Colom, and Cesar G.

Thanks to the principal of Banyan Elementary, Ms. Cheri Davis, and to all the teachers and staff at Banyan who donated their time and effort for this worthwhile endeavor.

Finally thanks to the Westchester Optimist essay commitee (Fred Gonzaga, Michelle Rudnick and Mio Serrano) for making all this possible. It is not easy during these hectic times to find people willing to volunteer and to undertake projects of this magnitude. You are all true Optimists and my personal heroes.