The Noon Optimist Club of Marshall met Wednesday in Hutchins Hall of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Marshall. 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 and the recitation of the Optimist’s creed.

Optimist Le Ila welcomed all, especially their visitors — Pastor Rusty Rustenhaven of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, first time visitors JoLynn Cucinotta and John Fortune, and the facilitators for their 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.

Optimist Le Ila led in a celebration of optimism which elicited responses from members and guests. Suzan Harrison was optimistic about the cool, sunny fall weather. Optimist Richard Magrill was convinced that “with time” he would adjust to Standard Time which just returned the past Sunday.

Optimist Le Ila continued the club’s recognition of birthdays. Hers was this past Monday Nov. 4 and in celebration she prepared and brought a pumpkin cake, not only containing pumpkin and seasonal spices but baked in special pans so that it was in the shape of a pumpkin with tendrils of green vines and leaves at its summit. She also noted that Monday was the birthday of John Philips Souza, the “March King.”

Optimist Julie Brock presented Maycee Griffin and Hilario Espinoza as the Young Texanne and Texan for November.

Maycee’s favorite subject is English and her favorite teacher is Audrey Cato. She indicated that her current goal is to attend a four-year university with idea of majoring in sociology with a pre-med focus. Her grade point average is 5.54. Suzan Harrison claimed Maycee’s mom, Jamie, as one of her former students and Optimist Julie remembered going on a choir trip as a chaperone with Jamie when their were in school together. Optimist Richard asked why English was her favorite subject when she planned a college major in sociology. Maycee replied “I really love writing and of course my teacher, Ms. Cato!”

Maycee enjoys basketball (she is Basketball First Team All-District), softball (she plays shortstop and center field), choir, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Starfish Society and Interact Club. She is active in the River Crossing Cowboy Church. Harrison noted her wonderful sense of humor that sneaks upon you slowly: “Sometimes,” Suzan said, “Maycee would make a comment and walk on out of my office and moments later I would break out in laughter.”

Maycee is Academic All-District, (2016-19) and an East Texas Best Preps Nominee. She received the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and was a National Youth Leadership Forum Attendee. She enjoys hanging out with her friends.

Maycee concluded her presentation with a message to her mother, Jamie Price — “Thank you for always being there for me on good and bad days, always encouraging me, supporting me in the goals I work to achieve, and being so confident in me. I love you!”

Hilario Espinoza Gonzalez’ favorite subjects are history and science and his favorite teachers are Johanna Guillory and Jeff Ford. He is interested in music and enjoys being a part of the MHS choir. He also enjoys art (painting and drawing) and received an award at the Division 4 Visual Arts Scholastic Event. He indicated a special interest in watercolors and paintings done with alcohol inks. With his focus on art he plans a future career as a graphic designer. His grade point average is 4.90.

Hilario introduced his mother, Maria, and his sister, Marlina. He concluded his presentation with a message to his parents, Maria P. Gonzalez and Santiago Espinoza — “Thank you for everything you’ve given to me; for pushing me forward, and for supporting me with my interests.”

Suzan Harrison emphasized the presence of parents and President Le Ila singled out the mothers, Jamie and Maria, noting that Maycee’s and Hilario’s achievements are always “family affairs.” “It’s important,’ she said, “to be there when your kids do things and you, Jamie and Maria, are demonstrating that today.” Optimist Julie presented pots of bronze mums to both mothers.

Club organizers stated it was a great day with 16 present to enjoy six different kinds of pizza, salad, fruit, lemon cakes, chocolate croissants, and the crowning glory of Le Ila’s pumpkin cake. And, the club members were especially blessed that John Fortune, drawing upon his long career as a photographer, was with them during the photo session that followed the formalities.