CNOtes: March 16, 2021 – 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

CNOtes – March 19, 2019 – Essay Contest Winners

Phather Phil’s Prayer

Heavenly Father too many times we venture into the dark waters of life. We find ourselves treading water with no relief in sight, it is then that we turn to You for help. Your love for us provides the bridge over the troubled waters and puts us back on the road You intended us to walk. The static of the world sidetracks us too often. Help us to turn off the worlds temptations and stay with You in the fullness of our faith. By consistently staying with You, we can avoid the bargain basement temptations that dot our paths and led the young people in an optimistic way of life. Amen!

Today’s Guests

All Photos from the Meeting are Here

Special Announcement

Donna Huss announced that the next NOW event will be Tuesday, March 26th at St. Leonard’s Station House. This event will be held from 5-6:30 pm for the residents of St. Leonard. NOW is an acronym for “New Optimists Welcome”. Read more about it here.

Upcoming Social Events
4/1/2019, 6 PM Trivia party run by Scott Hall of @HallAroundTown at Chappy’s Social House

5/4/2019, Kentucky Derby Party at Remodeling Designs in Miamisburg

5/11/2019, Dayton Dragons game in a luxury box

Committee Announcements

Pat Behn announced that we need volunteers to help stuff Easter eggs on April 13, 2019 at 9 AM at St Leonard’s restaurant. The actual Easter egg hunt will be April 20, 2019 and will be held on the grounds at St. Leonard’s.

Gary Hansen and Diane Arehart will be chairing a new committee called the Engagement/Activation/Retention Committee.  The objective is to ensure that our new members become engaged quickly and, therefore, choose to stay in our club.  You can join the committee or choose to be a mentor to a new member.  If you are interested, plan to attend our next meeting on Thursday, April 4, at 5:30pm at Panera Bread in downtown Centerville.  Reach out to Gary Hansen or Diane Arehart for more information.

Annual Essay Contest

Kelly George, the CNO club chair of the Optimist International Essay Contest, explained the contest to us. Fifteen essays were submitted to CNO. She thanked this year’s volunteer judges of the essays: Debe Dockins, Glenn George, and Evelyn Griffin.

Kelly will be the chairman at the district level next year, so our club is looking for a new chair for the next year. Let her know if you want to volunteer.

Seventy clubs participate in this in Ohio. One winner from each club will compete at the state level and the winner at the state level will receive a $3500 scholarship ($2500 from Optimist International and $1000 from The Great Ohio District of OI).

The top 3 essays were read today. The scoring was very close. Out of 300 possible points, only 6 points separated 3rd to second and only 8 points from 2nd to 1st.

The topic for the 2018-19 school year is: “When All the World’s Problems are Solved, is Optimism Still Necessary?”

Emily Whitehead, a Senior at CHS, took third place. Emily received a Youth appreciation award from CNO in November, 2019. Receiving this award inspired her to write her essay.

Emily read us her essay. Excerpts from her essay follow:

Optimism is a proactive lifestyle. As a band member at CHS and using optimism she helped fellow student Sarah who has Down’s syndrome learn to play the saxophone. She tutors students from third grade through high school. To help them succeed she gets them to replace the words “I can’t” with “I can”.

Benjamin Thomas, a senior at CHS, took second place. Benjamin could not attend today’s lunch and Kelly George read his essay to us. Excerpts from his essay follow:

Galileo Galilee championed the Scientific Method. Galileo wrote a book that condemned himself to a life sentence of house arrest. He optimistically believed it was the right thing to do. Throughout history optimism has allowed the world to lift itself by its boot straps.

There must be a belief in progress to make progress.

Optimism is the ability to believe in a better future.  Optimism is difficult, messy and painful, but it is necessary to push society forward. Even in a perfect world, optimism is necessary to maintain perfection.

Madelyn Thomas, a Freshman at CHS took first place and she will participate at the district level. Excerpts from her essay follow:

Humanists brought a new way to view the world. There needs to be a shared spirit of ingenuity. It takes hard work and a strong sense of optimism. You must believe you are capable of a discovery to make discoveries.

If a perfect world with no problems were to exist, this would make everyone lazy, and this then is a problem. Optimism solves this paradox, by believing you can make a perfect world better.

Optimism can still create innovation in a perfect world. Innovation and improvement are necessary in a Utopian world to give a driving force to the human race. Without optimism the world would collapse. Optimism is the infrastructure to keep a perfect world perfect.

Thank you to our three contestants and their families for sharing their essays with our club.


Member Birthday
Dana Dring March 20
Larry England March 20
Shane Wilken March 20
Andy Dickerson March 21
Bryan Miller March 21
Sara Hemmeter March 21
Tom Novak March 23
John Kalaman March 25
Steve Blake March 25

Membership Anniversaries

Member Month Day Joined # Years
Joan Cordonnier March 22 3/22/2008 11
Jeff Brown March 25 3/25/2015 4

New Member Readings and Inductions

Name Sponsor 1st 2nd 3rd Reading or Induction
Bob Crawford Nick Tarkany 3rd Reading
Amy Blakeman Ron Tinnerman 3rd Reading
William Pace Jean Pummill 1st Reading

Sergeants at Arms

No time for sergeants this week.

 Happy Bucks! 

No time for happy bucks this week.

Noon Meeting News – March 28, 2017 – Essay Contest – 2015-16 Club Awards

Phather Phil’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, it’s great to be called an Optimist, but it is not enough to just go to meetings or in knowing the Optimist Creed. To begin each day the best thing we can wear is a smile. When we are alone, to be careful of our thoughts, when with others to be careful of our mouths. Everyone is
watching. Optimism is a great rewarding activity for ourselves and others. We all need to promise ourselves every day to reinforce the value of being
an Optimist. We’ll then enjoy each day’s chance to better ourselves and others and especially the kids. Help us Lord to value the opportunities each day gives us to extol the benefits of Optimism. Amen!

Click here to see all the photos from the meeting

Today’s Guests

Guest Guest Of
Amy Anand Contestant
Holly Beard Don Massie
Becky Bruce Ron Tinnerman
Shannon Coatney Cherie Genttry
Evan Gramke Contestant
Greg Gramke Contestant’s Parent
Kim Gramke Contestant’s Parent
Sheri Howard Mike Bevis
Kris McKee Greg Griffin
Cheryl Probst Christine Balsan
Alyssa Schafer Contestant

Today’s Speaker

We had the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Optimist essay contest winners read their essays to us on Tuesday.

3rd place winner Alyssa Schafer, a senior at CHS hoping to attend OSU in the fall for marketing, read her story about when she cared for her mother while she had breast cancer. She shared with us the power of optimism through such a trying time in her childhood and how she needed to be strong for her mother.

2nd place winner Amy Anand, a junior at CHS hoping to become pre-med, spoke about some great leaders with unshakeable optimism. She referenced how different Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, and Mahatma Gandhi were but how with great optimism, comes great success.

1st place winner Evan Gramke, a senior at CHS who will attend UC in the fall and play soccer, spoke about the outcome of being placed on the junior varsity team sophomore year. He shared with us how pessimistic he was, but decided to turn things around – he ended up making captain and it became a great season for him.

Centerville Noon Optimist Club Awards for 2015-2016

Presented at Noon Meeting on March 28, 2017

**Joe Madden (Past District Governor–2012-2013) 

Present 1 – 5:

  1. Partners in Education Award
  2. Community Service Involvement Award
  3. Friend of Youth Award
  4. OI Foundation – 365 banner patch, $40 per member    patch and year patch
  5. First Place in the Achievements and Awards  Program  – banner patch

**Governor Cherie Gentry (2016-2017)

Present 6 – 8:

  1. Distinguished Lieutenant Governor Award – Pat Behn
  2. Honor Lieutenant Governor Award – Joe Madden-Zone12
  3. Builder of Excellence Award (patch, pin, pin backer  and medal) – Myron Rheaume and Joe Madden

**Pat Behn (Lt.Governor Zone 14, 2015-2016;2016-2017)

Present 9 – 11:

  1. Honor Club President, Distinguished Club President – Citations, Banner Patch, Pin and a Watch
  2. Honor Club Treasurer, Distinguished Club Treas. Citations and a Watch
  3. Honor Club Secretary, Distinguished Club Secy. Citations and a Watch

**Jerry Stahley (Past District Governor – 2011-2012)

Present: Immediate Past Governor gifts to Governor Bryans 2015-2016 CNO “staff” members

* David Ladd – District Chaplin

* Myron Rheaume–District Chair, Personal Growth & Involvement

* Heather Craaybeek Kuth –District Chair, Communication Contest for the    Deaf & Hard of Hearing

* Mike Bevis –District Club Services

* Cherie Gentry – Great Ohio District Governor-Elect

* Joe Madden – District Lt. Governor–Zone 12

* Jerry Stahley – Dist. Long Range Planning & Supply Chair

* Pat Behn – District Lt. Governor/Membership Chair Asst.

Member Birthdays

Member Birthday
Maha Kashani March 31
Dennis Fisher April 02

Membership Anniversaries

Name Month Day Year # Years
 Dav  Bremer March 31 2001 16
 Robert  Jones March 31 2001 16
 Phil  Robinson April 1 1982 35
 Don  Kelley April 1 1983 34
 Edward  Case April 1 2009 8
 Bill  Stone April 1 2013 4
 Greg  Fay April 3 2014 3
 Greg  Griffin April 3 2014 3

New Member Readings and Inductions

Name Sponsor 1st 2nd 3rd Reading or Induction
Kris McKee Greg Griffin 2nd Reading
Sheri Howard Mike Bevis 1st Reading

Sergeants at Arms 

David and Rachel decided to fine any member who had not been fined in the last month. David also decided it was a great idea to fine all members who had been fined in the last month, as well.

 Happy Bucks!

Beth Lybrook Happy to join Donna Huss on the social committee. She also noted her company was having its 4-year anniversary.
Phather Phil Phil’s granddaughter just received her PhD and will be taking a job in Philadelphia on the cancer research team.
Myron Rheaume 1)    I’m back!

2)    Thank you to all for cards, e-mails, and all the visits he received after his back surgery.

3)     Congrats to his daughter, Shawna Hatton, on her new position at Dayton Art Institute.

Don Kelly David and Rachel – be ready to feel the wrath from the upcoming sergeants: Ron Tinnerman and Scott Langer!
Charlie Tapp His granddaughter was diagnosed with leukemia 4 years ago, but was just recently moved from “in remission” to “survivor”. YAY!
Joe Madden It’s his 24th anniversary and he’s happy to still be alive (we’re not so sure Mary is happy)
Sherry Gentry Happy to have Shannon at the meeting with her