The results are in for the 2012 Spirit of Douglas Essay Contest and this year’s winners hail from Sarah Marley Elementary, Loreto, and Douglas High School.
For the K-5 level, judges selected “The Run” written by Sarah Marley third grader Lexie Otero. Matteo Vlasic, an eighth grader at Loreto School, was judged the middle school winner for his essay on Miguel Gomez. DHS Senior Joseph Alvarez’s won in the high school level for his essay entitled “Gib Dawson-Hometown Hero”.
Cochise College professors Denisse Cañez, Jay Treiber, and Dave Pettes served as judges in this year’s first-ever competition. Essays qualified based on word count (150 words or less) and were stripped of all identifying information prior to being submitted to the panel of judges. The panel reported their results back to the Spirit of Douglas Committee who in turn notified principals and coordinated with the Dispatch on Thursday and Friday of last week.
Committee Chair, Danny dj Morales, shared his excitement for the upcoming awards social on Oct. 13 as a part of the Centennial Committee’s Authors and Artist Weekend.
“This weekend belongs not only to the three winners, but to all the students, parents, teachers, principals, schools, judges, and contributors who united to author the Spirit of Douglas 2012,” Morales said. “It belongs to Ruby Sandoval from Clawson Elementary and Aleyda Cañez from Huber Middle School whose essays were nominated by their principals. It belongs to Huber’s honorable mentions like sixth grader Nathan Grijalva and eighth grader Mark Martinez.”
As testimony to this sentiment, the committee worked with the Douglas Dispatch to ensure online publication of as many entries submitted to committee as possible. In addition to online, these entries will be displayed at a Spirit of Douglas booth at the Gadsden Hotel from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 13.
“So many of the stories, including those exceeding 150 words, needed to be shared somehow,” Morales said. “This is the first contest and it will take time and lessons learned for it to get better and better.”
Undeterred, Morales gives a sneak peek at the expansion of the Spirit of Douglas - “our next addition will be a Teacher of the Year Award with the same three levels and check prizes we saw in this year’s essay contest.”
The plan, Morales said, is to seek nominations in part from parent teacher associations from all area K-12 schools.
He underscores the key to the initiative’s continued success, “the Spirit of Douglas is all about our community coming together for the common goal of recognizing and promoting the excellence and positive stories of Douglas. I thank God for all our participants and contributors this year as well as our partners at the Douglas Dispatch and Wick Communications”
The Douglas Centennial Committee, Voice of Douglas, and Douglas Dispatch would like to thank all those who contributed to include Friends of the Douglas Public Library, City of Douglas Youth Activity Fund, Christian Life Center, Maryelizabeth Hart, Dave Pettes, Jay Treiber, Denisse Cañez, and the Honorable Raúl and Mrs. Patricia Castro.
By Lexie Otero
Sarah Marley Elementary School
Every year on Thanksgiving there is a run to raise money to help cancer patients in Douglas. The run was created by a lady that was diagnosed with cancer and survived. This is a story that inspires people to help others.
Linda Gomez, the person who organizes the run, was diagnosed with cancer in 2000. She started the run to help other cancer patients in Douglas. She wanted a way to help her community. The run gives her a way to raise money for her goal.
Linda has inspired people by accomplishing her dream of helping cancer patients in Douglas. She is an inspirational person because she survived cancer and decided to help people in her situation. Linda’s story is about inspiring people to help others. Hopefully this story inspires people to help others just like Linda does.
By Matteo Vlasic
Miguel Gomez began as a worker with no thought that one day he’d own a general store and become one of Southern Arizona’s most influential men. His humble beginning was that as a chili picker in the fields; he then took a job at Mike Simon’s goods store. This inspired him to open Gomez Grocery. When the general store opened it became an instant success, turning into a central hub for Mexican workers and politicians in Southern Arizona!
Miguel was a kind and smart man who cared for his community. When the workers at Phelps Dodge went on strike, he supported them; when a family wanted to have a baby or get married but couldn’t afford it he would lend them money with no interest charge. His store would help a generation to succeed and open a place for people to get involved in their government as a political hub.
"Gib Dawson - Hometown Hero"
By Joseph Alvarez
Douglas High School
Gib Dawson is the only Douglas football player to make it professional. Dawson grew up in Douglas where his father had a business and a bar. He is recognized for his performance and his records. Gib Dawson worked hard to be the best.
As a sophomore, he played on a championship team. All the offensive backs on his college team were All Conference. Dawson finished his career with 1724 yards, still good for 16th all-time at UT.
He then had a short career with the Green Bay Packers which was stopped because he was needed in the Korean War. After Dawson served his time in the Army, he decided to work in the wholesale liquor business. Dawson worked for many years before retiring. Gib Dawson is an example of if you work hard enough and have goals you can do anything.