The Noon Optimist Club is under the new leadership of President Ned Calvert. The club met Wednesday, Oct. 14, refreshed by their monthly in person meeting last week and ready to continue their work online. Covid-19 will not keep them from serving the young people of Harrison County!
Covid-19, however, does make for unusual times for them and their Young Texans program. Usually, they all get to meet and share a meal each month with the Young Texans, their parents, and Senior Counselor Suzan Harrison and Assistant Principal Nakena Bayliss.
Such easy conviviality is not possible this fall. The club is mostly meeting online and in person only once a month. And, in any case, the MHS Seniors cannot leave their campus. Published MISD Covid-19 policies say that visitors will be allowed on campus only in the case of an emergency!
Happily, Suzan Harrison is able to work out an arrangement whereby Optimist Julie Brock, who is in charge of the Young Texans program, is welcomed to MHS this week. Julie just has to explain her mission to the guard at the entrance to the parking lot and he telephones Suzan and she greets Julie at the school steps.
The students and Nakena are all ready and waiting when she enters the building. Yadira Solache and Cole Carlile share their accomplishments with her and she presents their certificates.
In all there will be 18 Young Texans selected this year. At the year end Senior awards assembly, three young women and three young men will be randomly selected to receive $500 grants.
Julie takes a photo of Susan, Cole, Yadira and Nakena, all socially-distanced. New MHS principal Matt Gregory stops by to share his welcome after the photos are taken. It is a good if brief time!
Julie introduces Yadira Solache to the club today as the Young Texanne for September. Her favorite subjects are science and health science.
Her favorite teachers are Coach Jana Duck in girls soccer and Erica Hervey in health sciences. She has a grade point average of 5.36.
Active in Mindset, Interact Club and Anchor Club, she is also a participant in AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination). A
VID is a college preparation program that is offered as an elective class to students at MHS and Marshall Junior High School who are looking to prepare for entrance into a four year college or university.
The class is designed to help students acquire skills and behaviors they will need to do well and gain acceptance to four year colleges and universities upon graduation from high school. In most cases, these students will be the first in their families to attend college.
Yadira is active in the youth group at Saint Joseph Catholic Church and ranked second in the Senior class where she also serves as vice president.
She enjoys cooking, baking and helping in the community. She is a Rotary Young Leader Award recipient, listed on the honor roll, and one of the top five in Air Force Junior ROTC. Her goal is to become a pediatrician or a pediatric surgeon.
Her personal message to her mother, Maria Espinoza, is: “Thank you for everything you have done for me and supporting all of my dreams. Thank you for believing in me when even I didn’t. Gracias por todos los sacrificios que haz hecho por mi, te quiero mucho.”
Julie then introduces Cole Carlisle to the club as the Young Texan for September. His favorite subjects are math and science and his favorite teachers are Audrey Cato who teaches English and Jeffery Ford who teaches world history and human geography. Cole’s grade point average is 5.42 and he is ranked first among all the Seniors at MHS.
Cole plays golf, is active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the National Honor Society. He is also active in the First United Methodist Church and its youth group.
Regarding his hobbies, he says, “I like to fish and play golf with my dad.” He is employed part time at KMHT Radio Station and his plan is to study business at the University of Texas at Austin.
In a personal message to his parents, Casey and Heather Carlisle, Cole says, “I love both of you and there is no way I could ever repay you for your overwhelming support, love and guidance throughout my life.”
Melissa Al-Ahmadi is planning her duties as the club’s new secretary. Richard Magrill is writing and indexing the last few pages of the story of 75 years of service in Marshall.
John Fortune provides enhancements to the accompanying photo of today’s Young Texans.
The club comes to enjoy the stories of “good news” shared with us by the immediate past president, Le Ila Dixon.
Asked by us to continue that contribution to our online meetings, she shares the following:
Jordan Reeves is just an ordinary 14-year-old girl but she has inspired millions with her extraordinary “superpower.”
The young inventor from Columbia, Missouri was born with a left arm that stopped developing beyond the elbow. Although some people would look at her under-developed limb as just a disability, Jordan uses her condition to launch her superhero alter ego.
When she is 10, Jordan attends a STEM workshop that encourages kids with disabilities to think creatively about their condition — so with a 3D-printer at her disposal, she designs her own prosthetic arm that can shoot glitter from its tip.
Jordan’s invention is dazzlingly successful and it grows into “Project Unicorn” which encourages other kids to view disabilities as gifts rather than hindrances. That project develops into Born Just Right, a nonprofit founded by Jordan and her mother that advocates for inclusivity.
She also published a book in 2019 about her experiences and, additionally, Jordan and her prosthetic are featured on Episode One of Marvel’s Superhero Project.
“Where adults see challenges,” Le Ila says, “kids see opportunities. Imagine what we could do if we all saw the world through a child’s eyes!” To see the YouTube video of Jordan’s story, go to: https://youtu.be/x7UeWjBO9OI