‘Optimistic’ attitude wins contest for Carmel Valley Middle School student


Although a new member of Carmel Valley Middle School’s Junior Optimist Club, Alyssa Cho is already sharing her optimism with her school and greater community. Alyssa, 14, is the recent winner of the Optimist International Essay Contest at the club level.

“I was really excited that I won,” said Alyssa, an eighth- grader at Carmel Valley Middle School. “Winning a contest is really exciting. It was also a topic I was really interested in.”

This year’s essay prompt was “Optimism Should Be a Priority.” At first, Alyssa said she found it difficult to write a response.

“It’s a topic you know instinctively, so I had a hard time putting it in words,” she said.

“To me, optimism means that even when things are bad, you look forward. You hope for the best, anticipate for the best, and try your best.”

Alyssa learned about the contest when she joined the Junior Optimist Club in January.

Sponsored by the Del Mar-Solana Beach Optimist Club, the club gives students the opportunity to promote positive change in the community, while preparing for high school. The club, chartered in October, organizes a variety of service projects throughout the year, from collecting clothes for the homeless to gathering gifts for foster children.

“I love to help people,” Alyssa said. “I like to put a smile on people’s faces, so that’s why I joined.”

Optimist International sponsors three scholarship contests for students to earn funds for higher education. These include the Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Essay Contest and the Oratorical Contest.

The Essay Contest gives students under the age of 19 the opportunity to develop writing and critical thinking skills. Contests are conducted at the club level, then the district level. At the district level, the first-place winner receives a plaque and a $2,500 college scholarship, funded by Optimist International Foundations.

Alyssa’s contest earned her first place at the club level. The Del Mar-Solana Beach Optimist Club presented her with $300 and a medallion at the club’s Feb. 18 dinner meeting. Her essay is being submitted for consideration at the district level.

Visit optimistdelmarsolanabeach.org.