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Pictured are Senior Counselor Suzan Harrison, Young Texan Fabian Corona, Young Texanne Layla Rains, and Principal Matt Gregory. Our thanks to Optimist Julie Brock for the photo and for added touches by Optimist John Fortune.

The Noon Optimist Club met online on Jan. 27 after canceling their meeting on Jan. 20 due to the inauguration.

Vice President Julie Brock and Secretary Melissa Al-Ahmadi took charge in the absence of President Ned Calvert. Optimist club members are at varying stages with the Covid-19 virus.

Some have received the vaccine and/or are scheduled to. Others are still seeking appointments. The club continues with their prayers for Ned Calvert and his family. Optimist Charles Dixon visited with Optimist Adam Adair this week and got a report on Optimist George Bennett and his wife Inagene. The club’s prayers go out to them for improved health.

Optimist Julie Brock hailed the first Young Texans of the new year when she went to MHS this week to present certificates to Layla Rains and Fabian Corona. The club expresses its thanks to Senior Counselor Suzan Harrison and Principal Matt Gregory for making this recognition possible. In all there will be eighteen Young Texans selected this year. At the year end Senior awards assembly, three young women and three young men will be randomly selected from the group to receive $500 grants.

Julie presented Layla Rains to the club as the Young Texanne for January. Her favorite subjects are English and history and her grade point average is 5.0. She has several favorite teachers: Jerry Eagan in AP U.S. History and world geography, Jana Duck whose subject is algebra and who is the head coach for girls soccer, and Jeff Ford who teaches AP world history and geography.

Among Layla’s extra-curricular activities are the Mavettes, National Honor Society, and Student Council. She says that “reading and painting are my hobbies” and her accomplishments include multiple dance awards and being nominated and chosen as an alternate for RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards). Optimist Richard Magrill asks if she could say more about her dance awards. Layla replies: “Sure! I’ve been on the Mavette Drill Team for the past three years, serving as Social Officer my junior year and Head Social Officer my senior year. Over the years I’ve accumulated these awards: Pizazz Award, Mavette of the Week, Spirit of ADTS (American Dance/Drill Team), Best Attitude for my sophomore and junior year, Jammin’ Junior, and All American Honorable Mention.”

Layla is employed part-time at Bubba’s Shaved Ice and her future plans include attend the University of North Texas to major in English and creative writing in order to become “an inspiring young adult author.” Her personal message to her father, Lucas Rains: “Thank you for raising me alone for the past six years, and for inspiring me every day to persevere.” She adds, “Also, thank you to my grandma, Glenda Rains, for being my best friend and always believing in me. I love you both so much!”

Suzan Harrison notes that “Layla is very bright and works very hard. She has taken a lot of advanced courses (AP and dual credit) and has taken health science classes as well. I look for her to be very successful after graduation. She has certainly prepared for post-secondary life!”

Julie then presented Fabian Corona as the Young Texan for January. His grade point average is 5.03 and his favorite subjects are in the area of science (biology and astronomy), psychology, and the arts (chamber orchestra). His favorite teachers include: Tyrone Robinson who taught me pre-AP biology but who is now an MHS instructional coach (“He was someone I looked up to and deeply respected)”; Jana Duck who taught me Algebra; Mrs. Stampley who taught me medical terminology and “many important aspects of life;” Crystal Walker who influenced me through AVID and Colorguard; and Audrey Cato who taught me English.

Fabian is active in Saint Joseph Catholic and his extra-curricular activities include the UIL Science Team, Mindset Team, Historian for the National Honor Society, and playing in the chamber orchestra. Optimist Michele Fuller asked which instrument he plays. “I began orchestra back in 6th grade,” he says, “and we were given the choice of what instrument to play, between violin, viola, cello, and bass. I selected the viola and since then, 7 years later, I’m still playing it and currently I am section leader of violas. Something about its sound always has drawn me and its been very rewarding learning to play it.” Optimist Le Ila Dixon asked what the Mindset team involved. “Mindset,” Fabian explained “is a competitive creative problem solving team, in which teams of up to 7 are given scenarios in which they as a group have to resolve situations using the limited resources they have.” “Back in my junior year of high school, my team and I competed in Tyler and we advanced all the way through the finals and ultimately won first place, which was a little unbelievable since it was my first year ever being in it,” he reports.

Fabian’s interests include: hiking, writing and listening to music. “I placed first in our school science fair my sophomore year and placed first with my Mindset Team as a junior and was a part of RYLA. Optimist Richard Magrill asked Fabian about a favorite hiking experience. “My favorite hiking trip, he shares, “was Christmas of 2019 in my hometown of Cocula, Mexico. I and my cousins and some friends all went hiking up to a cliff that was roughly 6 miles away from the town and we enjoyed the view at the top over-looking the town. It’s always great time when I’m in Cocula!”

Fabian plans to continue his education at college and obtain his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in bio-medical engineering. His personal message to his parents, Joel and Maria Corona, is: “I would just like to thank you both for giving me the freedom to explore what I like. Thank you also for always trying to have my back and for all your support.”

Suzan Harrison adds that “Fabian is a natural leader and very mature. He will go far and do great things, I have no doubt!”

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