Winners Announced for Arlington’s 2018 Animal Essay Contest
By Carol Weemes
Posted on February 05, 2018, February 05, 2018

Essay Contest

Mayor Pro Tempore Sheri Capehart with the 2018 Arlington Animal Essay Contest winners from Mary Moore Elementary.
Photo courtesy of AISD

Congratulations to all the 2018 Arlington Animal Essay Contest winners!

Excitement grew as Mayor Pro Tempore Sheri Capehart spoke to Mary Moore Elementary students on February 2, as they eagerly anticipated the announcement of their school's winners. Mary Moore Elementary School walked away with five of the 12 awards from more than 800 entries submitted by third through sixth grade students residing in Arlington. Amazingly, all the fifth-grade essay winners attend Mary Moore.

It has been an especially great school year for Ellis Elementary teacher LaSonia Blackston. Not only is she essay winner Raven Carter's fourth grade teacher, but she was also awarded AISD Teacher of the Month in November 2017.

Aurelio Valencia, home school 1st place winner for fourth grade, and brother of Macario Valencia — a winner in last year's contest, made it his goal to be a winner this year. The Valencia's teacher and mom, Patricia Valencia said that Aurelio worked diligently on his essay, polishing the draft multiple times for his final entry.

The Animal Essay Contest is open every year to all students who attend public, charter and home schools that live in Arlington. Teachers of winning students make the contest an important part of their lesson plan each year. Students are provided the winter break to work on crafting their entry, with judging based on elements of effective writing skills. The program, implemented in 2001, is designed to promote responsible pet ownership.

This year's winners are:

Grade 3

Essay Topic: If you had wings, what animal or insect would you be and why?

1st place: Saba Rahman, Imogene Gideon Elementary (MISD)

2nd place: Audrina Rangel, Mary Moore Elementary

3rd place: Yahaira Torres, Imogene Gideon Elementary (MISD)

Grade 4

Essay topic: Our pets need food, water and shelter, but what more do they need?

1st place: Aurelio Valencia, home school

2nd place: Jayden Canas, Mary Moore Elementary

3rd place: Raven Carter, Ellis Elementary

Grade 5

Essay topic: What things should be done to improve the lives of animals?

1st place: Isaiah Saina, Mary Moore Elementary

2nd place: Adaleigh Nguyen, Mary Moore Elementary

3rd place: Gabe Hockett, Mary Moore Elementary

Grade 6

Essay topic: In 2060, how will animal shelters be different than they are today?

1st place: Mary McColm, Montessori Academy of Arlington (Private School)

2nd place: Aaron Petty, Stem Academy at Wester (MISD)

3rd place: Helen Yang, Bryant Elementary

Representatives from EECU, Business Development Specialist Maribel Moreland, and Financial Center Manager, Moiz Kurani, accompanied city officials as they went to locations announcing winners. On February 17, each essay winner will open a savings account with $100 at EECU, as a part of their award winnings.

Every essay contest winner will also receive a Kindle Fire, made possible by Spring Creek Barbeque and the City of Arlington, in addition to the $100 savings account, compliments of EECU, Spring Creek Barbeque and the City of Arlington.

Winners received an invitation to tour Arlington's state-of-the-art Animal Services Center and to read their essays during a special event March 10. Arlington's Mayor and City Council will also recognize the winners, teachers and principals at its meeting on March 6.

Be watching for interviews of 1st place winners to be broadcast on the City of Arlington's YouTube channel and on the 24/7 MyArlingtonTV cable channel, found on AT&T U-verse Channel 99, Time Warner Cable on channel 16, 15.1 (digital) and internet Live-Streaming.

Congratulations to each winner and to everyone that participated in the contest! Special thanks to this year's sponsors, Spring Creek Barbeque, EECU, Star-Telegram, City of Arlington Mayor Pro Tempore Sheri Capehart, and Arlington Animal Services.

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