Local student wins national essay contest

Jacqueline Cruz, daughter of Maria Cruz-Zavala and Arturo Cruz of Fort Pierce and sixth grade student at Samuel S. Gaines Academy K-8, was recognized at the October 9, 2012, St. Lucie County School Board meeting. Jacqueline won first place in her age category in the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs’ (AFOP) 2012 Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Children Essay Contest. The contest, open to students nationwide ages 10-18 and children of migrant workers, asked students to write about the challenges faced by farmworker families, the typical day of a farmworker, and what motivates the student. Essays were judged on style, content, and writing that is clear and articulate. Students could win a monetary prize, and be included in a booklet to be presented to key members of Congress. Jacqueline was notified in August of her first place award, and presented her essay at the AFOP national conference last month in Boston. Pictured is Jacqueline with, from left, her three brothers, mother, School Board Chairman Carol Hilson, Superintendent Michael Lannon, Samuel S. Gaines principal Carolyn Wilkins and Assistant Superintendent for Federal Programs John Lynch.