Essay Contest Winners Read Their Essays

Erin Dickerson’s Prayer

Today’s prayer is a combination of Irish blessings and prayers in honor of St. Patrick’s Day

May God give you…for every storm, a rainbow; for every tear, a smile; for every care, a promise; and a blessing in each trial.  For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share.  For every sigh, a sweet song, and an answer to a prayer.  May the dreams you hold dearest be those which come true and the kindness you spread keep returning to you.  May the strength of God pilot us, may the wisdom of God instruct us, may the hand of God protect us, may the salvation, O Lord, be always ours, this day and forevermore, Amen.


Debe Dockins announced that CNO members donated over 200 pairs of socks for Shoes for the Shoeless. They were collected when the member appreciation lunches were distributed at Yankee Trace Golf Club last Friday. Thanks to all those who donated socks.

Tom Novak, Avenue of Flags committee, said, “The AOF Optimist Subscription Renewal Team has already received 68% renewals of last year’s total which is ‘normal’ for our ‘Early Bird’ phase. Thanks to the outstanding efforts of the Team.  They continue to receive renewal subscriptions.”

Committee Meetings

  • 3/24/2021, 6 PM, Tom Frazier Tee Off for Youth Golf 2021, Zoom hosted by Mike Bevis. Meetings in 2021 will be on Wednesdays on 1/13, 2/17, 3/24, 4/14, 5/12, 6/16, 7/7. Additional volunteers are always welcome. The golf outing will be held on 7/12/2021.
  • 4/20/2021, 6 PM, Monthly Board of Directors Meeting, Zoom hosted by President Debe Dockins

Community Events

Greg Griffin announced that the Easter Egg Drive through will be held on April 3rd, 2021 from 10-11 AM at Oak Grove Park.

Happy Birthday Brian Nolan

Today was Brian Nolan’s Birthday and he was on today’s meeting! Tom Novak led our choir. Tom told the essay contestants that their essays were great and very memorable. Tom warned them that the version of “Happy Birthday” they were about to hear will also be very memorable (and bad).

In response to the singing Brian said, “I had to reach for my air sickness bag!”

Brian and Bob, have a great birthday and a great year!

2021 Essay Contest

Kristen Marks is the chair of the 2021 Essay Contest. Her opening remarks follow:

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 2020-21 contest was “Reaching your Dreams by Choosing Optimism.”

I was enthusiastic about this theme as I reflect on the past year both personally and professionally, and it was wonderful to read about this theme from the perspective of so many youth.

I want to thank this year’s judges, Liz Fultz, Debe Dockins, Evelyn Griffin, and Andy Higgins.

I also want to thank former Essay Contest Chair, Kelly George for her leadership on this committee in the past, and for her guidance in my first year. I had lots of questions and she was very helpful.

This year, we had 17 entries for the local contest. The first-place winner of the local contest moves on to the District competition.

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, or if they could not attend, they have recorded themselves reading their essay. Greg Griffin, I appreciate your help getting this all ready to go!

First, we will hear from our 3rd place winner, Giovanna.

Next, we will hear from our 2nd place winner, Leah.

And lastly, we will hear from this year’s local contest winner, Meenakshi.

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 2021!

Video of the Essay Readings

The winners are listed next with very brief excerpts of the speeches. Watch the video to hear their entire essays. You can watch the essay readings here.

Giovanna, 3rd Place

Giovanna is a Senior at Centerville High School who plans to major in speech therapy in college.

She titled her essay, “The Harp Perspective.” She has been playing the harp for 10 years.

The harp is her passion and an extension of her hands. Practicing can be demanding. Understanding optimism and the role it has in success is important in becoming great at something.

She came up with words for H.A.R.P – Happiness, Ambition, Responsibility and Passion.

Leah, 2nd Place

Leah is a Freshman at Centerville High School.

She titled her essay, “Reaching Your Dreams by Choosing Optimism.”

To overcome a negative outlook, the key is to infuse optimism into your life. Optimism and the willingness to look forward will help you move on and will help you achieve your dreams.

Meenakshi, 1st Place

Meenakshi is a Freshman at Centerville High School.

She titled her essay, “Reaching Your Dreams by Choosing Optimism.”

Life is constant decisions. The most important decision is choosing between optimism and pessimism. Choosing optimism is the first step to achieving your dreams.

Dreams fuel your mind like food fuels your body. Pessimism is like a virus. Imagine you are an inspiring computer engineer that does not have the required math skills to be a computer engineer.  An optimist will continue to learn and add the math skills they need in order to become a computer engineer.

Following your passion will allow you to live a better life.

Thank You

Thank you to all the participants in the 2021 Centerville Noon Optimist Essay contest.

Thank you, Kristen Marks, for chairing the Essay Contest Committee. All three essays we heard today were excellent.

New Member Readings and Inductions

None this week.

Welcome Guests!

None this week.

Happy Bucks

Debe DockinsIncarnation and Alter Grad Joe Thuney, an Offensive Guard, just signed a 5 year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs
Kristen MarksThanks for the 17 particpants in the 2021 Essay Contest
Kristen MarksHappy for being named the new executive director of the Centerville-Washington Park District
Myron RheaumeKristen Marks becoming the executive director of the Centerville-Washington Park District

Membership Anniversaries

MemberMonthDayJoined# Years
Joan CordonnierMarch223/22/200813


Brian NolanMarch 16
Bob FosterMarch 16
David BrookmanMarch 18
Dana DringMarch 20
Larry EnglandMarch 20
Shane WilkenMarch 20
Sara HemmeterMarch 21
Kathy LinderMarch 21
Andy DickersonMarch 21
Bryan MillerMarch 21

CNO Donations – 2013 through January 2021

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

Thank You Notes Received

Click here to see the Thank You Notes our Club received this week.

Sergeants at Arms

No Sergeants this week.

Zoom Meeting This Week

We had another meeting using Zoom. We will continue our weekly meetings via computer, cell phone or tablet for at least the next several weeks. Please join us and keep inviting guests.

Who can Attend Zoom Meetings?

Any member of any type of Centerville Noon Optimist can attend Zoom meetings. CNO 2.0, St Leonard’s and CNO full members or CNO monthly members can ALL attend.

Guests are also welcome. Please invite guests and introduce them if you like. Just share the Zoom link with them for that week.


In keeping with social distancing requirements – our CNO Meetings have transitioned temporarily to a online format using ZOOM.

Club Member Joe Madden was inspired to rewrite The Optimist Creed – so we give you now – The Corona Creed -with apologies to Christian D. Larson, Author of The Optimist Creed.

Links to Recorded Meeting and PowerPoint

A Video Recording of this Week’s Meeting is here

A Podcast of this Week’s Meeting is here

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

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