The Noon Optimist Club of Marshall met online Wednesday, May 13, with President Le Ila Dixon sharing perspectives gained from her consideration of the Great Influenza of 1918. She concluded by saying that as optimists, the club has the opportunity to put this current pandemic into perspective and in the words of their creed to “think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best” during our crisis.

“We will see a broader picture when we look at this time historically. Change is taking place in many aspects of our lives, some of which will continue into our immediate future. Some of those changes will radically change the way we live. There will be opportunities to celebrate those changes when we have this crisis more in our rear-view window.

She asked us if there were changes in the way we work that we would like to see continued after this pandemic is under control, noting that she and Optimist Charles Dixon have responded well to worshiping by way of Facebook Live from their home office while enjoying a cup of coffee (in my pj’s , she confessed). “Because of my age and health issues, I continue to stay at home, wearing a mask when necessity demands that I go out,” she reported, adding her advice to all Optimists “Take precautions; stay safe!”

“We have enjoyed the stories of Optimists, new and old, in past meetings, and now thanks to the hard work of MISD Senior Counselor Suzan Harrison and the persistence of Optimist Julie Brock, we are finally able to honor the Young Texans for April and May. Optimist Richard Magrill tried to get photos of all four, but he has had to be content with pictures of the Young Texans for April (the first of which shares a sample from her personal, developing photography business). We will announce the winners of the six $500 grants shortly,” she adds.

Darbi Hill is the Young Texanne for April. Her favorite subject is advanced placement human geography and her favorite teacher is Jeff Ford. Her grade point average is 4.88 and she participates in the National Honor Society, the Interact Club, and serves as vice-president of the Senior Class. Her hobby is photography and in 2017 she started her own business, Darbi Hill Photography, which offers excellent portraiture (evidenced by the one of herself she shared with us) and creative wedding photography.

Darbi plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin and to study psychology in hopes of eventually pursuing a career as a psychotherapist. She is a Christian and her message to her parents, Kenneth and Stacy Hill, is: “Thank you for raising me to know the difference between right and wrong, for supporting me, and for loving me unconditionally. I will always be proud of where I come from.”

Cody Anderson is April’s Young Texan. His favorite subject is history and his favorite teachers are Jerry Eagan, Sandy Hoover, and Kenneth Adcock. His grade point average is 4.61. He enjoys basketball and video games. His part-time employment at Comfort Suites in Marshall keeps him busy. He plans to major in business administration with a minor in economics.

Cody’s message to his parents, Angela and Jerry Anderson, is: “Thank you for every opportunity in life you’ve given me and for every hour helping me learn and become the adult I am today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Love you guys!”

Blanca Lopez is the Young Texanne for May. Her favorite subjects are biology and CCMA (a medical assistant certification) and her favorite teachers are Skylyn Potts and Erica Hervey. She has a grade point average of 4.70 and is active in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Her extra-curricular activities include band, Interact Club and Anchor Club. She enjoys volunteering and door decorating. She’s employed part-time as a waitress at Don Juan’s Mexican Grill in Marshall.

Blanca’s future plans look toward a career in nursing. Her message to her parents, Blanca and Cecilio Lopez, is: “I just want to say ‘thank you’ for always pushing me to do my best and like I told you, I might struggle and be crying in college because something is hard, but I will make it!”

Alex DesRoches is the Young Texan for May. His favorite subjects are algebra and chemistry and his favorite teacher is Crystal Walker. He is a Christian and participates in Colorguard, Anchor Club, and the National Honor Society. His hobbies include Colorguard, hiking and backpacking. He got first place in MA (Marching Auxiliaries) and was voted judges favorite of the night. He also placed first at NTCA (North Texas Colorguard Assn.). In Hallsville, Alex works at Sonic Drive-in.

Alex plans to attend Northwestern State University and major in nursing as well as continuing his involvement in Colorguard. His message to his parents, Nancy Reddick and Keath DesRoches, is: “I can’t thank you enough for the life you have given me. I am extremely grateful to have you as my parents and wouldn’t change anything. I would have never gotten to where I am without you. I love you guys!”