Chino Valley High School students sweep Optimist essay contest
Chino Valley High School seniors Tabitha Sanders, Natalie Malloy and Kendall Foster placed first, second and third for the Optimist International Essay Contest, sponsored by the Optimist Club of Yavapai County. The three Chino Valley students were recognized on Feb. 24 at the Prescott Valley Public Library’s Crystal Room. They were awarded medals by Dr. Butch Miller, president of the Optimist Club of Yavapai County and lieutenant governor for Zone 4. Nearly 40 high schoolers throughout Yavapai County submitted essays for the scholarship. Seven of the 11 qualifying students were seniors enrolled in Chino Valley High School’s dual-enrollment English program, which offers shared college credit with Yavapai College.
First-place winner Tabitha Sanders’s essay earned the Chino honors student a gold medal and an opportunity to compete among other Optimist Club chapter winners for a $2,500 scholarship, in May. Second- and third- place winners Natalie Malloy and Kendall Foster received silver and bronze medals. Madelyne Bartels, Jared Chavez, Zoe Dunn, and Austin Laster received certificates recognizing their achievements.
The Optimist Club’s essay topic asked students to respond to the prompt “Lead by Example: Reality or Fiction.” Chino Valley High School has become a strong symbol of leadership in the quad-city area. Under Principal Wes Brownfield, graduation rates have soared to 88 percent of eligible students. Chino Valley High School outperforms the state graduation rate by 12 percent and national (2012-13) graduation rate by 7 percent.
Principal Brownfield attributes the success of Chino Valley High School’s students to strong leadership in its counseling department and a dedicated teaching staff. Counselor Ivette D’Angelo and English teacher David Kingsley presented the scholarship opportunities to students. The dual-enrollment program that produced Chino Valley’s seven finalists is a class within Chino Valley High School’s Cougar Academy, a cohort of honors students chaired by English teacher Sara Rosengren. Under Rosengren, Chino Valley High School’s PSAT scores also surpassed state and national averages. Chino’s student qualifiers for the Optimist Club Essay Contest were well-supported at the announcement banquet by their parents, siblings, fellow classmates and teachers, as well as Dr. Miller, a retired principal and former international educator in administration.
With the dedication of parents, teachers, and the Chino community, Principal Brownfield ensures that Chino Valley High School will remain synonymous with strong leadership in the quad-city area for years to come.