RIO COMMUNITIES — The Rio Communities Optimist Club sponsored an essay contest to support youth in developing their skills in written expression and personal perspective. They also had an opportunity to win a college scholarship.

The assigned topic was, “Is Optimism the Key to Achieving the Dreams you Imagine?” Twenty-five students from St. Mary’s Catholic School in Belen participated in the contest.

The winners were Samantha Jaramillo, first place; Lisette Sanchez, second place; and Sara Martinez, third place.

The essay winner now advances to the district contest to compete for a $2,500 college scholarship funded by the Optimist International Foundations. All contestants were given a certification of participation.

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.