Five students recognized in essay contest
Five students recognized in Optimist Club of West St. Paul Essay Contest
Posted on 02/25/2019
 Optimist Club Winners
Pictured, from left: Taylor Gonsalez, Ruby Filhart, Micah Carson Dove, Maya Lorentz (Simley High School) and Alex Taney. Not pictured: Elizabeth Castillo-Flores

The Optimist Club of West St. Paul recently announced the winners of its 9th annual essay contest, which concluded on Wednesday, Feb. 20. 

In December, students were invited to write essays based on the theme, “When All the World’s Problems Are Solved, is Optimism Still Necessary?" The following District 197 students were recognized at a banquet for their submitted essays: 

  • Taylor Gonsalez, Henry Sibley High School, first place.
  • Elizabeth Castillo-Flores, Henry Sibley High School, second place.
  • Micah Carson Dove, Henry Sibley High School, certificate of excellence.   
  • Ruby FilhartHenry Sibley High School, certificate of excellence. 
  • Alex Taney, Heritage E-STEM Middle School, certificate of excellence.            

The students were awarded Optimist Club certificates, medallions and gift certificates for their accomplishments.

Each year, area students are invited to compete in the annual essay contest for a chance to earn a college scholarship. The contest, hosted by Optimist International, provides a yearly prompt for students to write a 700-800-word essay. Submitted essays are first judged at the Club level. The first place winner at the club level then advances to District competition (Dakotas, Manitoba and Minnesota), for a chance to win a $2,500 scholarship. 

To learn more about Optimist International, visit the organization’s website at