Special to the News Messenger

The Noon Optimist Club of Marshall met Wednesday, Mar. 4, in Hutchins Hall of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Marshall to honor the accomplishments of the March Young Texans. President Le Ila Dixon convened with the ringing of the bell and Optimist Janie Moore led in prayer followed by the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag and the recitation of the Optimist’s creed.

Optimist Le Ila welcomed all 21 present including first time visitor Josh Moore of AutoBody Express, MISD Counselor Zach Davis and MHS Senior Ronald Williams, and especially Eliz’beth Porcayo and Caden Clark, their families, and the facilitators for the Young Texans Program, MISD Senior Counselor Suzan Harrison and MISD Assistant Principal Nakena Bayless.

This program recognizes outstanding MHS Seniors each month.

At the end of the year six $500 grants will be awarded to three young women and three young men selected at random.

President Le Ila called on the club to share their optimism.

Nakena Bayless spoke for faculty and students alike when she expressed her optimism for a safe and healthy spring break next week.

Nakena was joined by Suzan Harrison and President Le Ila; and Le Ila added that the Chief Rabbi of Israel had recently told the devout that during this time of concern about spreading the coronavirus they should not follow the custom of touching the mezuzahs found on the doorframes of rooms and homes. (The mezuzah is a small box containing a parchment with the Shema Ysrael which begins “Hear O, Israel, the Lord [is] our God, the Lord is One ...” written on it.) “Don’t get the virus during spring break,” she warned.

Optimist Le Ila also called attention to the death of actor Kirk Douglas on Feb. 5 at the age of 103 and the fact that he continues his golden-hearted philanthropy through bequeathing most of his $61 million fortune for the benefit of youth through a scholarship program at his alma mater, St. Lawrence University, and through bequests to Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, Culver City’s Kirk Douglas Theater, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

As “a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in,” his son and fellow actor Michael Douglas wrote, “he set a standard for all of us to aspire to.”

Counselor Zach Davis introduced Ronald Williams who was the winner of the $300 drawing for those 198 MHS Seniors who participated in the Student Mock Interview Learning Experience last Friday. Ronald indicated that his future plans are to obtain an associate degree from Texas State Technical College.

On behalf of all, President Le Ila wished him well and took the occasion to remind the club that the club will debrief the S.M.I.L.E. event next week.

Optimist Julie Brock presented Eliz’beth Porcayo as the Young Texanne for March.

Eliz’beth’s favorite subject is math; her favorite teachers are Mark Windham and Jeff Ford. Her grade point average is 4.90 and she participates in band where she is one of three drum majors.

She spoke with enthusiasm about her involvement with her church, Cristo Esperanza Vivo, and with the National Honor Society.

Eliz’beth is employed part-time by All-Together Cleaning and plans to attend East Texas Baptist University and major in finance and accounting. Her personal message to her mother, Maria Carbajal, (addressed to her in Spanish) was: “Mom, you have been the greatest role model in my life, I am blessed to be your child. Words cannot describe how much you mean to me. I love you most.”

Optimist Julie Brock then presented Caden Clark as the Young Texan for March.

Caden’s favorite subjects are economics and welding and his favorite teachers are Jerry Eagan and Luke Shadix.

His grade point average is 4.60 in school.

His extracurricular activities include: Future Farmers of America, agricultural mechanics, forestry, and livestock judging in which he has participated in the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and the Ft. Worth Stock Show.

His current project is raising hogs.

Caden is a member of Immanuel Baptist Church.

At Immanuel he has served as a counselor at the church’s Junior Camp at Scottsville.

His accomplishments include being a member of the National Honor Society and playing Maverick baseball 2016-18.

In FFA, where he has served as President 2018-19 and Chaplain 2019-20, he has received several honors: Top Hand 2018-19, the Texas State (Lone Star) FFA Degree, and the Agricultural Mechanics Proficiency Award 2018-19.

His hobbies include welding, hunting, and fishing

His plan for his future is to enlist in the United States Army where he has a job reserved for him as an attack helicopter mechanic.

Caden’s personal message to his parents, Allen and Jill Clark, was: “I would like to thank you for the support and all the hard work you do for me. You have made me into the man I am today. You are the biggest inspiration in my life!”

As the meeting concluded, Optimist Julie Brock took pictures of the Young Texans with their parents and with Nakena Bayless and Suzan Harrison.

She then presented parting gifts of pink tulips to the mothers of the honorees.