Optimism rules in students’ essays

Alyx Chandler, Kristen Hop, Kenny Helms and Summer Dawkins, 2012 graduates of Bob Jones High School, were top writers in Madison Optimist Club’s essay contest.

Winners in the Madison Optimist Club's essay contest were, from left, Alyx Chandler, Kristen Hop, Kenny Helms and Summer Dawkins.

Chandler and Hop tied for first place, Helms took second and Dawkins third place. The 2012 theme was “How My Positive Outlook Benefits My Community.”

Chandler aspires to be an author. “Writing has always helped me understand how life works … an important and productive perspective,” she said.

At Bob Jones, she edited “The Eclectic” magazine; belonged to yearbook staff, National Honor Society, National English Honor Society and Key Club; and won the silver key and award of merit for writing with Scholastic Art. Chandler will enter the University of Alabama.

Alyx’ parents are Doug and Terri Chandler. Her brother Zach is a Bob Jones senior.

In her essay, Hop wrote, “Young adults are often overlooked. We’re neither working members of the community nor children needing to be taken care of. However, this state of in-between puts us at a crucial influential stage.”

“My essay was chosen because I … represented the teenage population as a whole whilst still giving my personal annotation,” Hop said.

Hop received the Patriot Player award for volleyball and played for the North Alabama Spikers’ Association. She was editor of “The Eclectic” and a member of Spanish Club, yearbook staff and Huntsville Judo Club.

Hop will attend UA on a presidential scholarship.

Kristen’s parents are John and Carol Hop and her sisters are Alison, a Auburn University graduate and Haley, a sophomore at James Clemens High School.

In her essay, third-place winner Summer Hawkins wrote, “Despite any negative occurrences, a positive attitude gives myself and my town the will to keep pressing on, which makes all the difference.”

Hawkins was an “Eclectic” editor and involved with Student to Student, Physics Club and National English Honor Society. Her parents are Arthur and Cindy Dawkins, and brother Roman is a second-grader at Columbia Elementary School.

Helms was unavailable for comment.

Winners were enrolled in Brandy Panagos’ creative writing class.

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