Optimists

MISD Senior Counselor Suzan Harrison, Josh Cervantes, Elizabeth Palmer, and MISD Assistant Principal Nakena Bayless. Josh and Elizabeth were recognized by the Optimists Club in October.

The Noon Optimist Club of Marshall met Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Applebee’s meeting room.

President Le Ila Dixon convened with the ringing of the bell and led in prayer followed by the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag (flying proudly on the campus of Marshall Senior High School as seen through the window!) and the recitation of the Optimist’s creed.

Optimist Le Ila welcomed all including MISD Senior Counselor Suzan Harrison and MISD Assistant Principal Nakena Bayless who are the facilitators for our Young Texans Program which recognizes outstanding 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.

Optimist Le Ila led in a celebration of optimism which elicited responses from members and guests. Suzan Harrison was optimistic about the beginning of MISD’s fall break this year and what our schools can do in the lives of kids. Sarah Palmer was optimistic about the arrival of cooler fall weather! Optimist Le Ila noted that she was optimistic about our club which will turn 75 in November of 2020.

Optimist Julie Brock presented Elizabeth Palmer and Josh Cervantes Torres as the Young Texanne and Texan for October. Elizabeth’s favorite subjects are history and calculus and her favorite teachers are Audrey Cato, Jeff Ford, and Robin Rudd. She indicated that her college choice is Baylor University but she has not yet settled on what her major might be. Her grade point average is 5.58. Elizabeth enjoys volleyball, softball and choir and she is active in Eastern Hills Church of Christ where she has gone on summer mission trips and youth outings. When she was a Freshman and Sophomore she went to Houston to help staff Vacation Bible School for children many of whom spoke only Spanish. More recently, she went with a Church of Christ group called Wilderness Trek; they climbed a mountain in Colorado.

“The view from the top,” she said “was amazing and brought me closer to God.”

Elizabeth is currently president of the Senior Class and has served as president of the National Honor Society and co-captain of the volleyball team. She was All-district for softball and volleyball from 2017-19 (honorable mention 2017-18). She is also active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. (“I love sports and Jesus!” she says.)

Elizabeth concluded her presentation with a message to her parents, Chase and Sarah Palmer — “Thank you so much for raising me with Jesus as the most important thing and encouraging me in everything that I do. Your love and support are so instrumental in helping me becomesuccessful. I love you so much!”

Josh Cervantes’ favorite subjects are art, tennis, and band. He has several favorite teachers: Jerry Eagan, Johnna Guillory, Audrey Cato and Tyrone Robinson. He enjoys current events, taking part in clubs, and other after school activities including relaxing with friends.

“I’m involved in art and especially enjoy portraiture because you can capture facial expressions” Josh reports, “and I was in robotics last year.”

Optimist Richard Magrill recalled that the Young Texan for March, Angel Cabrera, was a co-founder of the Robotics Club and had expressed the hope that it would be able to continue after his graduation.” Josh said that the MISD team’s trip to the national competition in Indianapolis last year was a highlight. There were various categories and the team from Marshall competed in that for self-driving cars.

Suzan Harrison indicated that a new sponsor for the Robotics Club is being sought this year and took the occasion to mention that Josh has been selected as a National Hispanic Scholar because of his achievements (his grade point average is 5.18). “This is a really big honor,” she emphasized, “and it could mean scholarship money down the road.”

Josh is a member of Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church and looks forward to continuing his education after graduation. He hopes to major in either architecture or electrical engineering. After introducing his brother Freddy, Josh concluded his presentation with a message to his parents, Lorena Torres and Alfredo Cervantes — “I’d like to thank you for helping me in every way you can. Although I know you don’t understand many of the subjects I am pursuing, you are still willing to support me, even when it is inconvenient for you.”

Optimist Le Ila expressed congratulations to the parents of Elizabeth and Josh, noting that such achievements are always “family affairs.” She also read a “thank you” note from Deshona Jernigan, Young Texanne for April, who was one of the six who received a $500 grant from our club at last year’s Awards Assembly. “The $500,” she wrote, “is helping me spend my time this fall on study while I attend Tyler Junior College and major in biology in pursuit of my career in physical therapy.”

The meeting concluded with a brief huddle concerning plans for the upcoming birthday celebration for foster kids in Harrison County. Contacts with the Marshall Police and Fire Departments will be made to explore ways in which they can participate and help the foster kids to relate to our first responders in relaxed and fun ways. In addition, the Marshall Ministerial Alliance has reported that there are individuals within their churches who would love to assist with the event.