Laws of Life Essay Winners

Congratulations to the 41 Foothilll students whose outstanding essays and artwork were honored Friday in the seventh annual Laws of Life essay contest.

Participation was at an all-time high this year with 918 students submitting their original writings for the essay contest. Students submitted essays describing how a particular incident in their lives helped to reinforce a positive character trait.

The purpose of the contest is to get students to focus on the positive character traits touted by the school and community. The six character traits promoted through the Pleasanton Community of Character are responsibility, compassion, self-discipline, honesty, respect and integrity.

The essays were judged by 69 parent and community volunteers. The top 10 essays were chosen for each class level with the top five winners receiving cash awards -- $100 for first place, $75 for second place, $50 for third, $30 for fourth and $20 for fifth. The awards and event are funded entirely by your generous AABC donations.

The teachers of the four first-place winners were awarded $25 as a small token of gratitude. Those teachers are Eric Heinitz, Kurt Richey, Lisa Fulton and Erin Pagtakhan.

The 2011 essay winners are:
                  First                              Second                      Third  
Senior -- Rayed Khan                 Jason Scott               Michaela Blanchard
Junior --  Katherine Downey       Mary Carnes             Phoebe Wong
Soph. --  Kelly McDeavitt            Maxine Muller           Anna Dotson
Fresh. -- Sydney Smith               Evan Williams           Kennedy Mahdavi

                    Fourth                         Fifth
Senior -- Jack Atherton               Sara Serrao
Junior --  Danielle Roe                Mary Arnold
Soph. --  Sneha Nagrajan           Yesenia Veanatahau
Fresh. -- Roxanne Moran            Jamie Suk

Honorable Mention
Seniors                                        Juniors
Annalise Amos                          Gabriel Ballecer         
Jessica Frazier                          Megan Clark
Jacquelyn Helberg-Najera        Evan Martinez
Annie Wu                                  Thomas Pilarski
Lei Yeh                                      Emily Thomas

Sophomores                               Freshmen
Mark Chen                                Hannah Biehl
Anthony Kuo                             Annie Hsu
Lauren Nester                          Alexandra Keir
Omar Sajjad                             Marissa Khoury
Mikaela Schwab                       Andrew Natsch

Cover Artist Winner -- Chi Zhang, sophomore

The awards luncheon drew 100 guests, including the parents of the honored students, school district leaders and city leaders. The special guest was Heather Haugen Rizzoli, who spoke about the character movement her mother, Juanita Haugen, started in the district many years ago. Juanita Haugen was a longtime school board member who was active in the Pleasanton community for most of her adult life.

Special thanks to Margo Olsen and the fourth-period foods class for serving at the luncheon. Students in all of the foods classes baked the delicious brownies served at the awards ceremony. A big thank you to Castlewood Country Club for donating the food and loaning the dishes and flatware. Thanks to Erik Nishimori and the orchestra students for playing background music while the guests dined.

Thanks to art teachers Caroline Fields and Trish Fenton for providing teaching assistants to help display artwork. Thanks also to teachers Stephanie Maimoni and Willie Brown and the leadership students who worked hard to set up and decorate the luncheon tables, and then take everything down after the event.

Finally, Vice Principal Lori Vella extends special thanks to Coni Miller and Judi Palin in the front office for all of their hard work on this event, and thanks to school booster (AABC) volunteers Gillian Holmes, Jill Thomas and Hazel Scott for all of their work.

Posted Friday, March 25, 2011