MHS Senior Wins Essay Contest, Scholarship


Jessica Haner reads her winning piece from The Optimist Club of Waco Essay Contest at the banquet this week. Photo by Jamie Beavers

By Christian Boesche, MHS Independent Study in Journalism Student

Midway High School Senior Jessica Haner won The Optimist Club of Waco Essay Contest. Club members presented her with a gold medal, a plaque, a pin, and a $500 scholarship at a banquet held in honor of the three Waco-area winners on April 16. Haner won first place, with two students from University High School placed second and third.

The topic of the essay was: When all of the world’s problems are solved, is optimism still important? Haner wrote a 753-word essay explaining why optimism is important. Her stance is perhaps best summed up by this excerpt from her essay: “Having optimism after all the world’s problems are solved is still needed.”

Haner’s essay was good enough to be forwarded to the district level. She entered the contest after the $2,500 prize in an effort to help pay for her education.

“I was just super surprised that I won,” she said.

Haner has also received other financial awards this year, including the UNT Scrappy Scholarship, a grant, and two loans.

Her future plans include going to the University of North Texas in Denton to major in business with a minor in fashion merchandising, with hopes of becoming a corporate employee of Rack Room Shoes in the future. “I hope I have a successful future,” she said.

Jessica is the daughter of Marcus and Leslye Haner of Hewitt, TX. She has been on yearbook staff for three years and on the newspaper staff for two years. She is the academic chapter editor of the yearbook and a reporter and librarian for the newspaper. Haner takes fashion design classes and is a member FCCLA. Outside of school, Haner works at Rack Room Shoes, reads, hangs out with her friends, drinks coffee from Common Grounds, and watches Netflix. Her favorite book series is The League by Sherrilyn Kenyon, and her favorite series on Netflix is The Umbrella Academy.

The Optimist Club of Waco holds both an essay and an oratorical contest for local high school students each year. For more information about the contests and how to form a junior club at your school, contact club treasurer Greg Howell at lgreghowell@yahoo.com.