2023 Essay Contest Winners Read Their Essays

Erin Dickerson’s Prayer

Today our Jewish brothers and sisters are celebrating Purim, honoring the courage, bravery, and heroic acts of Queen Esther.  Lord, help us to be more like Esther; to speak truth to power, to fight against injustice, and to work together to make a positive difference in the world around us.


Volunteer Signups Available Online with the Virtual Clipboard

Did you know that you can now signup to volunteer or to take part in social events using a simple online registration form right from your phone or PC? The Member Calendar has a complete list of upcoming volunteer opportunities and social events.


  • Erin Laurito announced that the flyers are ready for the Got Talent Contest. The live Got Talent Contest will be held at Centerville High School on May 3rd, 2023. The video entries are due April 6th, 2023.
  • Bill Stone announced that the CNO lunch speaker on March 14, 2023, will be the current President of Optimist International, Bob McFadyen, and his wife Penny McFadyen. The following week’s speaker will be Optimist International Foundation Executive Director, Craig Boring.
  • Jesse Gaither announced that the next CNO 2.0 Event will be on March 15, 2023, at 5:30 PM at Loose Ends Brewery. Instead of a guest speaker this month, we will socialize and enjoy the March Madness Tournament games. At 7 PM the venue will have a trivia contest and all are welcome to join.
  • Kelly Stone announced that The JOI convention took place last weekend. About 65 students participated. They did “Get to Know You Activities,” a service project, had a leadership speaker and training. A group spent the night Friday at the church and fun was had by all! The convention resumed Saturday morning. JOI Ohio District Elections took place for the upcoming new board member positions starting October 1st, 2023. The good news was our own Sammy Touhey from Centerville High School was elected to be the Ohio District Governor Elect for 2023-2024! They are planning to attend the Optimist International JOI convention in July 2023.
  • Beth Duncan announced that Alter High School student, Sarah Theewis, has asked CNO to support her bake sale at The Greene on March 25, 2023 to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. See https://events.lls.org/sohd/svoydayton23/stheewis

Social Events

Wine and Beer Tasting at the home of Patrick and Diane Arehart, 3/25/2023 at 6 PM, get details and sign up here.

2023 Essay Contest

Kristen Marks is the chair of the Essay Contest. The following are her remarks:

The Essay Contest is sponsored by Optimist International to give young people the opportunity to write about their own opinions regarding the world in which they live. The approach can encompass a young person’s personal experience, the experience of their country or a more historical perspective and helps in developing their skills in written expression. This year’s theme for the 2022-23 contest was “Who is an Everyday Hero that Brings Out the Optimism in You?”

I was enthusiastic about this theme as I reflect on the mentors and special people in my life that have taught me appreciation, gratitude, and optimism, and it was wonderful to read about this theme from the perspective of our youth.

I want to thank this year’s judges, Mary Stahley, Mary Murphy, Evelyn Griffin, and Megan Dalton. The time they put into reading the nine essays is much appreciated!

Today, I am happy to say that you all will get to hear the top three writers read their essays! The first, second, and third place winners of the contest have joined us today, as well as some of their special guests.

This year, we had nine entries for the local contest. The first-place winner of the local contest has moved on to the district competition.

Thank you once again to these young writers and your guests. I hope you continue to express yourself through writing and or speaking and we wish you a wonderful 2023!

Andon LaFreniere, Junior, Centerville High School, 3rd Place

Andon is currently working on a 7-week fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He also stays busy with Lacrosse and his favorite hobby, which is skateboarding.

Excerpts from his essay follow:

My father inspires me every day.

In 2021 my father purchased a business, and he was willing to take the risks and make it a success.

The stress of managing fifty plus employees is challenging. He didn’t give up and he finds solutions to issues.

Since he has an optimistic attitude, the debt that he took on for the business does not get him down.

His willingness to go into the unknown is inspiring.

Optimism will get you through challenges in life.

Perseverance and a positive attitude will get you through anything.

Maeve Wattercutter, Junior, Centerville High School, 2nd Place

Maeve competes in speech and debate and is also a volunteer catechist for kindergarteners at her parish. She loves to read and travel in her spare time.

Excerpts from her essay follow:

The first twenty minutes of school called advisory was so quiet, everyone spent the time staring at their phones.

My friend fostered my optimism. She stopped the silence in advisory.

Mondays are now exciting. I get to learn about my friends’ weekend and to tell them mine.

My friend refuses to let her disabilities define her.

When I was first diagnosed with dyslexia, I didn’t want to try at school since it was so hard. I did some research and found that several famous people including Albert Einstein and Steven Spielberg had dyslexia. It showed that I could still learn and be successful.

I decided dyslexia wasn’t going to get me down.

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.

Change is accomplished through kindness.

My friend inspires me and my advisory. We now interact and play games instead of staring at our phones in silence.

Maddie Jecker, Senior, Alter High School, 1st Place

Maddie is the head captain of the Lancerettes Dance Team and member of the gymnastics and track teams, as well. Outside of school Maddie dances with Miami Valley Dance Company. She is also an active member of Key Club, French Club and is president of the Dare 2 Care club. 

Excerpts from her essay follow:

One day in third grade the hands on the clock seemed to stop moving. I couldn’t wait to go to the doctor’s office. I went with my parents to find out if my mother was going to have the baby sister I always wanted so I could play dolls with her. I found out I was having a brother.

My little brother Carson is a bundle of joy and excitement. He always wants to play. Usually, he wants to bike to the creek to look for snakes and frogs.

He wakes me up to play. If I say, “Give me five minutes,” he goes back to his room and sets a timer for five minutes.

When I’m feeling stress, he makes me happy.

My brother dreams about being a professional athlete and keeps dreaming.

The person I look up to is my “little” brother that I actually look down to. I know that one day he will be taller than me.

My “little” brother is my everyday hero. He is always there and a part of my everyday life.

Welcome Guests

GuestGuest Of
Jean MunyurangaboMike Bevis
Jerry SprayDon Kelley, Larry Lynde, and Bill Williams
Kole GrossnickleKate Trangenstein
Mary MurphyKristen Marks
Troy SingerMike Bevis
Lee KoveleskiMichael Koveleski
Kathy IsraelPaul Stull
Jim TinnellPaul Stull

New Member Readings and Inductions

NameSponsor1st 2nd 3rd Reading or Induction
Melissa DeeterMike Bevis3rd Reading
Stephanie LlacunaMike BevisInduction

Happy Bucks

Kelly StoneBob Duffy made her laugh by not knowing what the medallion he was wearing was for.
Larry LyndeTruly appreciated the dissing Chris McAlpine did of Sergeant Scott Langer.
Debe DockinsFor Stephanie Llacuna who rocked our Valentine Name That Tune! Debe said she gave her a little box of candy for getting almost every song AND she sang them well, too!
Debe DockinsAndon LaFreniere getting 3rd place in the Essay Contest.
Debe DockinsMaeve Wattercutter getting 2nd Place in the Essay Contest. Her sister Quinn in 2016 won the Award of Distinction in the Dottie Yeck Good Life Award Writing Contest. Good writing sisters!
Debe DockinsMaddie Jecker getting 1st Place Place in the  Essay Contest. Won the 2017 Dottie Yeck Good Life Award as a 7th grader. 
Gary Anderson$5 for all the well wishes for his wife Geri’s open heart surgery that went well. She is at home recovering.
Debby MooreHer son has been promoted to Chief in the Coast Guard. He has been in the Coast Guard for 17 years.
Beth DuncanMike Yoder wearing a dress shirt and tie instead of uniform.

Sergeants at Arms

Chris McAlpineObviously he wants to be fined every week. He disparages Sergeants Cameron Langer and Scott Langer every week.
Bob DuffyWearing a medallion to the meeting.
Mike BremWearing his Sheriff’s uniform in an obvious statement of shameless self promotion.
Kelly Stone$2, Bill Stone said we need to get the donations up for the club.

Membership Anniversaries

Barbara SantoMarch 9, 199924
Bob GlavinMarch 12, 199330


Morgan SchiffhauerMarch 12

CNO Donations – 2013 through February 2023

Click here to see a summary of donations the club has made since 2013

Thank You Notes Received

No time for Thank You Notes this week due to Essay Contest.

Links to PowerPoint and Pictures

A Copy of this Week’s Meeting PowerPoint Slide Deck is here

All Photos taken at this Week’s Meeting are here

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