3/5/2014 9:18:00 AM Improving grades first step to achieving dreams, success
Winners of the Optimist Club of Yavapai County essay contest pose before the dinner and awards ceremony Feb. 25. From left are second place winner Emma Pearson, AAEC teacher Marianne Stoll, first place winner Jeffrey Wilson, and Butch Miller, club vice-president and essay contest coordinator.
Trib Photo/Sue Tone
Ninth-grader Jeffrey Wilson's first goal was to go from a C and D grade student to earning As. He accomplished this in sixth grade. Now he has his eyes set on becoming a pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
Wilson, a student at Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center High School, won first place in the Optimist Club of Yavapai County's second annual essay contest. His essay will go on to the Arizona district contest for review, where it could earn Wilson a $2,500 scholarship.
Optimist Clubs around the United States issued a challenge to middle school students to write on the topic, "How Dreams Lead to Success." At the monthly meeting Feb. 25, Wilson and second place winner Emma Pearson read their essays to the members who meet at 6 p.m. each Tuesday at the Canton Dragon restaurant in Prescott Valley.
"Our mission statement is 'Bring out the best in youth,'" said Butch Miller, vice-president and coordinator of the essay contest.
Wilson's essay described how he was known as the "stupid guy" on campus. He did not succeed at first with his goal to get better grades, and thought it impossible until a teacher in sixth grade offered him the encouragement he needed.
"Dreams, in a sense, are a lot like goals; you dream and have something you want to accomplish. A goal is challenging yourself to do something that may not be easy," Wilson wrote in his essay. "I have set goals for myself, none seem possible, but one day with hard work and ambition I can reach these goals."
Joining the Air Force and becoming a general is one such goal, as is flying commercially. "Setting a goal takes effort, you have to thrive and try incredibly hard. Goals were invented to be a challenge, and they are," Wilson wrote.
Pearson said she's had "a million ideas" about what she'd like to do as she grew up, including working in a restaurant, in the legal profession, and becoming the most well known person on earth. Today, her goal is to become a veterinarian, and she said she found the right school to attend to achieve that goal.
"I plan to not only graduate from this high school with my college AA degree, but have the dream of going on to complete vet school," Pearson wrote in her essay. "This is one girl that truly believes that her dreams will lead to her success."
The Optimist Club's next project is the Youth of the Year award ceremony in May, open to middle school students who have overcome life's obstacles. The Club is involved at AAEC, Bradshaw Mountain and Glassford middle schools and Liberty Traditional School. For more information, visit www.optimistclubofyavapai.org.