Teens showcase writing talent

Published 9:13 am Wednesday, March 24, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Niles Noon Optimist Club's youth oratorical contest gave a chance for three Ring Lardner middle school students to showcase their writing talents through positive thinking.
At the Riverfront Cafe on Tuesday, the three top finishers read their essays to the members of the optimist club.
The top essays were written by three Ring Lardner seventh graders: first place winner Lindsay Craig, second place winner Kathryn Hein and third place winner Ana Silguero.
The topic for the 2003-2004 Optimist International Oratorical Contest was "Thinking, Writing, and Expecting the Best."
It is part of the optimist club's mission to encourage the positive development of our community's youth and president-elect John Martin said it is important to get them involved in the community while they are young.
English classes at Ring Lardner required the essay as part of their classwork and helped the participation level reach 310 students.
Teachers at Ring Lardner narrowed the field down to the best entries and then the top essays were evaluated by three judges from within the Niles community.
The first student to read her essay was Craig, whose parents Roberta and Jim Craig were in attendance.
She chose to write about the inspiring story of legendary University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt.
Craig, who plays basketball for Ring Lardner, gave an overview of the coach's historical achievements and pointed to the reasons for her success, which included her drive, dedication and desire.
Her essay described Summitt as the embodiment of thinking, working, and expecting the best and a person that is easily looked up to.
Hein's essay focused on the importance of having a positive attitude and how it can translate into success down the road.
Hein, who was accompanied by her mother Leona Hein, stressed the importance of getting a proper education and encouraged self-confidence in all people.
Silguero's essay centered on her transition from growing up in Mexico to now living in the United States.
At the age of eight years old, Silguero, whose mother Sandra Casados was in attendance, moved to the Houston, Texas and then two years later moved to Niles. Though she misses parts of living in Mexico, Silguero said the move has been a great so far and has provided a wonderful learning experience.
She said coming to America was one of the most difficult challenges in her life, but also one of the best experiences of her life.
The winners all received medals, certificates of appreciation, prizes and an opportunity to compete at the regional "zone" oratorical competition in Kalamazoo in April.