Josh Jones, a recent graduate of Rye Cove High School, competed against students from North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee to win the contest in the North Carolina West district. He received $2,500 for his win, which will go toward his college expenses.
About the contest
The essay contest is open to any high school student and requires them to write on a certain theme. This year’s topic was “When all the world’s problems are solved, is optimism still necessary?”
“I’m a very politically minded person, so I take interest in world news, current events, that kind of thing,” Jones said. “I use some real-world examples throughout the paper from the past and present and just really showed how optimism is still very much involved in the world as it is right now, especially with how much more connected the world is becoming with media and all the new sources of obtaining information. So I used a lot of those examples.”
Jones submitted his essay through the Rye Cove Optimist Club, where it was judged by the Essay Committee. Leeann Stanley, president-elect of the club, said the panel chose Jones’ essay to advance to district-level competition.
Out of 13 finalists at the district level, Jones’ essay earned first place. Jones, who served as president of the Junior Optimist Club at his high school, said he learned he had won the contest from Billy Egan, current president of the Rye Cove Optimist Club, at the end of March.
“I was taking a tour of UVA-Wise, because I narrowed (my college choice) down between UVA-Wise and Liberty University,” Jones said. “We were actually in the middle of a campus tour, and we got back to the admissions office … and Billy Egan called my mom while we were there and notified us. So it was pretty exciting.”
Jones will attend Liberty University this fall and plans to major in political science. No matter where his career takes him, he said he’d still like to remain active in an Optimist Club.
The Rye Cove Optimist Club is seeking new members with an interest in supporting community service, scholarships, student awards and other initiatives. Meetings are held the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Rye Cove Community Church, and yearly membership dues are $84.
For more information, visit www.optimist.org or search for “Rye Cove Optimist Club” on Facebook.