Alpine school essay winners shine in spotlight
By Jo Moreland
Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce, For The Alpine Sun
ALPINE ---- “I like my friend. We do everything for each other. She is kind . . . She helps me when I get sad. I love her.”
That essay read by kindergartener Hailey Paden of Creekside Early Learning Center enchanted the crowd on June 4 at the 11th Annual Essay Writers Recognition Awards in Alpine. Friendship was this year’s essay contest topic for Alpine Union School District students.
The awards dinner presented by the Education Committee of the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce and the Alpine Chamber Community Foundation honored 40 winners.
“This is going to be a really exciting evening,” emcee Bob Ring of Albertsons told families, teachers and Chamber members at the Alpine Community Center at 1830 Alpine Blvd.
Ring noted that the Alpine Chamber’s Education Committee has raised $78,000 during the past decade for classroom needs in the community’s public schools.
The committee members include Ring; Al Haven of the Institute for Instructional Management; Charlie Brown, Viejas Enterprises; Chuck Taylor, Park Land for Alpine Youth; Cindy Velline, Julian Charter Schools/Alpine Academy; Colin Campbell, Helio Power Solar; Jeffrey Carlos and Jim Whitener, both of LPL Financial; Julie Ramirez, Alpine Country Day Schools, and former Alpine Honorary Mayor Larry Curtis, Kiwanis Club of Alpine.
Other members are Roger Garay of Online Bookkeeping & Tax Services; Sue Roff, Alpine Community Center; school district Superintendent Tom Pellegrino; former Honorary Mayors Peggy Easterling, Michael James, Al Guerra, Greg Fox, school Principal Katy Andersen and Matthew Kraemer of Alpine Physical Therapy & Wellness Center; current Honorary Mayor and Principal Jon McEvoy; Carlette Anderson, Save-A-Heart, The CPR Pros; Patricia Cannon, Chamber President/CEO, and Kelly Weiss, Chamber Vice President.
Supporting sponsors this year were Albertsons, the Alpine Community Center, Alpine Country Day School, Alpine Creek Town Center/Westcore Properties, the Alpine Union School District, Helio Power Solar, Kamps Propane, Kiwanis Club of Alpine, Soroptimist International of Alpine, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, Alpine Education Foundation, LPL Financial --- Jim Whitener, San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Keller Williams Realty.
A celebration highlight is always the free bag of coupons, treats, school supplies, toys and other goodies each winner receives.
The gift bags also contained impressive recognition certificates from the Chamber and elected representatives ---- Congressman Duncan Hunter, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, State Senator Joel Anderson and Assemblyman Brian Jones.
Albertsons: the Alpine Library Friends Association; Alpine Orthodontics, Cynthia L. Jackson, DDS & MS; Applebee’s Restaurant, California Bank & Trust; Grossmont Healthcare District and Kamps Propane sponsored gift bag items.
So did four Viejas Outlet Center businesses --- Christy’s Toy Outlet, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Rubio’s Mexican Restaurant and Wetzel’s Pretzels.
The Southern Indian Health Council; State Farm Insurance ---- Laurie Hallihan; Usborne Books; Virginia Fellows, CPA; Boomer’s: Chuck E. Cheese: the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo; Peter Piper Pizza and Wells Fargo Bank also donated gifts.
Winner Tyler Cochran, 7, an Alpine Elementary School first-grader, was a little nervous about reading his essay to everyone.
“We’re excited,” said the boy’s father, Larry Cochran of Alpine. “We’re very proud of him. He’s very good at writing.”
The audience enjoyed Tyler’s comments about the importance of having a friend with similar food tastes so there’s something everyone can eat if there’s a sleepover.
Charlie Rogers, a Boulder Oaks fourth-grader, observed that friends come and go, but “the cool thing about friends is none of them are exactly the same.”
“It is important to have a friend that is creative because when he put lots of rocks in a bucket and tied a rope to a wagon . . . the wagon flew up in the tree,” third-grader Bryce Wagner of Shadow Hills wrote about his friend. “I would have never thought of doing that.”
Dominic Garza, an eighth-grader at Joan MacQueen Middle School, said that social media has redefined the word “friend” to “follower,” someone who may not have “likeable qualities.”
“Yet the original traits of a true friend still remain,” Dominic said. “I know that when I look for a friend I look for trustworthiness, loyalty, and compassion.”
Call (619) 445-3236 or visit www.alpineschools.net to discover more about the Alpine Union School District.