Chemeketa Reads Student Essay Contest winners announced

Alicia Suarez, Linda Herrera, Briseida Lopez, Paisley Spinks and Katana Liebelt

Students shared stories about their path from adversity to resilience and those who supported them along the way during the heartwarming second annual Chemeketa Reads Essay Contest awards ceremony.

Katana Liebelt wrote about overcoming an autism diagnosis through the perseverance of her fiercest advocate, her mother.

“‘She has autism. She’ll never learn to read. She’ll never have a conversation. She’s never going to write,” said a former preschool teacher about me. My mom didn’t accept these words… In order to help me learn the skills I should’ve never been able to learn, my mom disguised these lessons as games. She turned them into something I would enjoy. Instead of believing what my teacher said, my mom believed that I could learn those skills. With God’s help, my mom changed my life course.”

Katana Liebelt, “How My Mom Supported Me Through God”

Cash prizes were awarded to seven students thanks to a generous donation from Linda Herrera, employee emeritus and owner of Atala Consulting.

“The Chemeketa Reads project is one way for us to connect to our community,” said Linda.“We can use stories to see what we have in common with each other and what we can learn from one another.”

Chemeketa Reads continues next year with “The Best We Could Do” by Thi Bui, a graphic novel memoir about one family’s journey from their war-torn home in Vietnam to their new lives in America.

Please help congratulate this year’s winners –

Award Winners

Paisley Spinks reads “Our Help”
  • $500 Briseida Lopez
  • $100 Katana Liebelt
  • $100 Paisley Spinks
  • $100 Kelly Babbitt
  • $50 Laurie Boedigheimer
  • $50 Allison Moser
  • $50 Marshall Norris

Honorable Mention Recognition

  • Alicia Suarez
  • Mary Ann Elmore
  • Karen Limas
  • Richard Baumann
  • Patrick Lehman-Martin
  • Nathaniel Kemper
  • Dion Anderson
  • Gabriela Hernandez
  • Edgar Quevedo Ramirez
  • Carla Cookm
  • Mary Ruth Anzai-Kawasaki
  • Jessica Hage
  • Ambee Gray
  • McKenna Aerni
  • Marisa Hall