“Hold Fast to Dreams” Student Essay Winners Awarded

More than 130 essays were received and reviewed and Paramedic student Tyson James was awarded first place for his essay.

Read Tyson’s winning entry

Tyson was recognized during the “Hold Fast to Dreams” author talk on Thursday, May 24, where authors Joshua Seckel and Beth Zasloff presented on the accomplishments and updates of the students included in their book.

Beth and Josh read some of the winning essays presented at the event.

“The stories students are telling about their own lives and their dreams are so important and they’re told with such honesty,” said Beth. “They’re really a reminder of why learning is so important.”

Read the Chemeketa Courier’s story and interview with Tyson.




Event and essay contest sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Equity.
Photos by Courier staff Caleb Wolf.


Essay Finalists and Award Winners


  • First Place: Tyson James
  • Second Place: Raquel M. Rodriguez-Walmisley
  • Third Place: Sharon Mendiola Albor
  • Fourth Place: Lea Sheldone


  • Ariane Mata
  • Christine Stewart
  • Connie Murphy
  • Curtis Smith
  • Haley Severin
  • Leah Hitz
  • Malia Elliot
  • Mariesa Stombaugh
  • Max Garcia-Matzumilla

Honorable Mention

  • Angela Jensen
  • Autumn Sheets
  • Brooke Saltarello
  • Danny Nettler
  • Eddie Reynolds
  • Emma Carrasco
  • Jennifer White
  • Kalee Reiling
  • Katherine Madaris
  • Katrina Hall
  • Kaylee Sprague
  • Kyla Neskahi
  • Laria Chernishoff
  • Lesly Escobar
  • Lewis Bradshaw
  • Monserrat Montero
  • Oriya Jefferson
  • Paige Olivera Kirsch
  • Roy Hammond
  • Shyla Hadley Butler
  • Spencer Hamilton
  • Stephani Freund
  • Tiffany Cole-McGrath
  • Victoria Kuzmenko