Lenihan students awarded for essays from Morning Optimists


Lenihan Intermediate School sixth grader Kaisa Stanley is pictured with her check and first place award in the Morning Optimists essay contest. Also pictured is Lenihan teacher Vanessa Engel, who accepted the second place award on behalf of student Ruth Fajardo-Zelaya.

Two Lenihan Intermediate School sixth grade students received awards from the Morning Optimists as part of an essay contest titled “Optimism in the Face of Challenges.”

Student Kaisa Stanley took first place and a $50 check and student Ruth Fajardo-Zelaya won second place and a $25 check.

Teacher Vanessa Engel said the students worked hard outside of school on their essays and they “did an amazing job.”

“I am proud of their dedication,” Engel said.


Second place winner Ruth Fajardo-Zelaya

Essay by Kaisa Stanley   

“To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.” This is the first line on The Optimist Creed. I believe this means to have a mind that is strong, so that nobody can change the way you think about life. I think that having a mind that is optimistic kind of makes a barrier around your mind so that nobody can make it any different than it was before.

“To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.” This line stood out to me because even people that you do not consider your friends, you should be nice to everyone. Not just nice even, you should be respectful, helpful, open-hearted, and you should also be their leader. Being somebody’s leader means to slowly teach them, you should crawl before you walk. You have to teach them how to walk, it will take a long time, so you need some patience, of course they’re going to stumble and fall but that’s the good thing about life; try, try again.

“To forget the mistakes of the past and press onto the future.” This means to me to forget all the sin you have done in previous times, and to look into what great achievements you will make in the future. You have to keep moving forward no matter how bumpy the road. If you always think about the mistakes you made in life, you will never do anything that you think will be bad because of previous mistakes. If you ponder on the mistakes of the past, you will never be able to do anything fun in life.

“To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.” I think this part of The Optimists Creed means think about how it feels when you win something? It probably feels good, doesn’t it. How does it feel when you get second place or third place? It probably doesn’t feel as good as getting first place, but you should still be excited for the people who placed better than you.

“To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.” I think this part of the The Optimists Creed means that you should improve yourself. The more you improve yourself, the less time you have to criticize others about anything. It gives you more time to compliment people, it gives you more time to forget all about the flaws of people and think about the beauty of them.

“To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.” Optimism is to be hopeful and confident about the outcome of something. This part of the The Optimists Creed is very similar to what optimism is.

“To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.” I think this line means to be to mighty to worry about what might happen. To be too generous to get angry about actions of others. To be too powerful for anger to get out. To be too excited for trouble to effect you eternally.

These lines in the Optimist’s The Optimists Creed are all chasing optimism in the face of challenges. Some people just don’t look at the lines as hard as others. To see that the lines show chasing optimism in the face of challenges you have to really look hard, like you’re trying to look for little dots on papers, that you can barely see.

To chase optimism in the face of challenges is when you come across a challenge, you should face the challenge but find optimism throughout the challenge. Chasing optimism in the face of challenges is learning to be patient, and find the pieces of the puzzle with people you know, people you don’t know, and family.

My name is Alexia, I have a dog, his name is Rocky, he’s very sick, and I feel like he was the one who really pulled our family together. I’m worried that if he dies we won’t find another dog that could replace him. He’s going to the vet today to get a checkup, if he doesn’t look well, the vet will have to put him down. So, Rocky didn’t make it. We went to the animal shelter and got a husky named Leon. He will never be the same as Rocky, but I like him.

This story is showing the good things about Leon that Rocky didn’t have. It shows that Alexia will have the same amount of fun with Leon as she did with Rocky. This is the good thing about life, you have bad times but sometimes the bad thing that happened can turn into something good.


Essay by Ruth Fajardo-Zelaya

What is optimism? Optimism is hopefulness and confidence about the future. It is being happy and hopeful even when trouble bumps into your life. Many think of themselves as being optimistic, but are they really? Would they be able to smile and laugh when a sibling or parent had died days earlier?

A friend of mine surprised me. Everyone considered her pessimistic. I was the happy one and she was the gloomy one. She had an older sister that always made her smile. Made her laugh even when she was mad or sad. Then… disaster struck. She was in a car crash with her sister, she managed to survive but unfortunately her sister did not. She was very melancholy after she went to her sister’s funeral. After a week, she was smiling and even laughing sometimes. All of her friends were mystified, so I asked her how she was doing it. How she was smiling even though her sister was gone, and these were her exact words “If we scrape our knee or arm, we don’t cry forever. We get a bandage and let the scrape heal on its own. It’s the same way with life. If something appalling happens to us, we shouldn’t cry and hide forever. What we should do is get up and face the world. We should get on with life, because if we fall (and don’t get up) at the first wave that hits us…. Then we will be doomed later on in life where there are hundreds of worse things that could happen to us.”

I learned from that friend that bad things happen in life, but just because they happen doesn’t mean that we have to be melancholy all the time. No, we have to get up and face the world with at least a smile on our face. We have to show the world that we are strong and that we will not be knocked down on the first bad thing that gets thrown our way.

Life is hard. The world is sometimes cruel and unfair. We can cry, scream, and yell when we trip and fall. Don’t though, because that gets us nowhere in life. We can’t change what has happened, but we can change how we react to what has happened. We can change how we see the world and how we react to the things that are happening around us. We can smile and help or we can frown and cause problems. It is our choice and ours alone to be optimistic or pessimistic. We decide and we have try to make the best decisions that will help us and the people around us.

“It doesn’t hurt to be optimistic, you can always cry later” – Lucimar Santos De Lima      Being optimistic doesn’t mean that you have to smile and laugh all the time…. It means that you see the world as a better place than most of us do. Even if life hits you with a heavy blow, it’s alright to cry, it’s alright to scream, because every once in awhile we have to let out all of our emotions. Optimism helps a lot of us and people around us have a better life. It helps friends and family to have hope and to expect good things not bad things.

I have a friend that’s very close to me. She is one of the happiest girls I know. Everyone considers her as an optimistic person, but she wasn’t always optimistic. My friend was a bully and she always found a way to crush everyone’s hopes. She had a chocolate lab that was always very chipper. Unfortunately, my friends’ dog was dying and that just made her madder and meaner. She made everyone scared of her and she made everyone miserable. When her dog died, she just broke. My friend did not bully anyone, but she did not make friends either. I was one of the girls that she ignored and I knew that she was a bully, but everyone deserves a second chance. So, I got to know her and the more I hung out with her the more she started to change. My friend started apologizing to all the people she had bullied. Now she has a lot of friends and she’s kind to everyone. I am glad that I got her to be optimistic, because optimism is very important in life.

Nobody deserves to live a miserable life. Nobody should expect bad things and the worst in others. I believe everyone should be happy and see life as a cup half full of a beverage. A happy world is much better than a sad world. We should all try to make this world a happy and lively world. Everyone deserves a good world not a bad one.