April 14, 2014

Optimist Club of Salem, Oregon appreciates kids every month

I always look forward to seeing the Youth Appreciation events at the Optimist Club of Salem, Oregon. When they come across my Facebook feed, I click and enjoy the stories about the students that they have honored during the month. 

You see, almost two years ago, the members decided that if they were indeed friends of youth as the Optimist International motto says, then they needed to interact more with children. That led them to reach out to the schools in search of students who deserve a little recognition. The criteria is different for every recipient, based on what the teachers would like to emphasize. Sometimes it's most improved in a particular subject, other times it's recognition for arts or music acumen or sports ability. They are especially aware of students who improve their attendance record and give community service to others.

One of the best things about the recognition is that the Optimist Club of Salem shares the stories on their Facebook page and gives a little boost for the kids that they serve while at the same time making a clear statement of why its important and rewarding to belong to an Optimist Club.

This month's honorees come from several different schools. With permission, I've reprinted their stories here. Enjoy!
There were many students with a plethora of reasons to be acknowledged during our Youth Appreciation event on April 10. The picture shows you the students, here are their stories: 
The students are (from left to right): 
Tomah Linwood from Chemawa Indian School honored for his significant improvement in academics. Tomah follows in his grandfather's footsteps, his grandpa was the first member of the family to attend Chemawa.Tomah started his school time as an underachiever, liking to fight and carrying a . 1.7 GPA. During this last year he wanted to graduate with a 3.75 GPA and he made it happen. He changed his attitude and his life. Tomah served as the school librarian among other leadership roles. Tomah plans to go to Portland Community College in the fall. 
Idallis Riggs from Chemawa Indian School was selected as that school's Youth of the Year (Chemawa graduation is on April 25th so we had to present this award today). A Navaho from Arizona, Idalis chose Chemawa for the social programs offered there. She has spent four years in the AVID program. She was Miss Chemawa in the Pow Wow events for two years. She played volleyball and basketball. She will attend PSU after she graduates and will play basketball there. 
Nicholas Becker from Blanchet Catholic School selected as Most Improved in Academics. Nicholas has managed his school years with a great balance of all topics. Whether it was math, Drama or Science, he was always at the top of his class. Nicholas plans to attend Chemeketa Community College for two years, then will move on to OSU. 
Adriana Bernard from McNary High School selected as Most Involved in Community Affairs (last month's category). Adriana has been a true leader in community service projects and a role model for other students. She plans to go to OSU to study Athletic Training. 
Eduardo Rangel from McNary High School selected as Most Improved in Academics. Eduardo had trouble in his freshman year and "iffy" attendance as a sophomore and was expelled. He knew that he needed to come back to McNary and when he did he turned his life around. He was even given an awarding T-shirt at a CE2 luncheon. He is now considered a role model for his two younger brothers. 
Kymmery Simmons From Sprague High School selected as Most Improved in Academics. Kymmery is an awesome champion of the AVID program and has served students so well that Sprague even gets appreciative phone calls. Not surprisingly, she will be going into college to allow her to teach children!


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