September 14, 2023 – “The spirit of 9/12 is to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12th, 2001. We were not obsessed with red states, blue states, or political parties.
We were united as Americans. Standing together to protect the values and principles of the United States of America.” — Lisa Benham-Lewis, Ed.D, Grant Director at Fresno County Superintendent of Schools
Students from junior high and high school all over Fresno County entered their artwork, poetry, and logos into the One Voice Spirit of 9/12 Contest.
The main guideline for the contest was, “Entries will reflect on how our country was united as a result of the events on September 11, 2001.”
The art, poetry, and logo were on display at the 2023 California 9/11 Memorial Ceremony, in addition to being displayed during the One Voice event at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
Two winners from both the art and poetry category were awarded Grand Prize, which includes a paid trip to visit the National 9/11 Memorial in New York City, for one student and 1 family chaperone. The teachers of the grand prize winners also win the paid trip as well.
Every entry received a certificate, the top 10 per category received medals, the top three overall in middle school (7th-8th) received an iPad, and the top three in high school (9th-12th) received a $1000 scholarship (savings bond to 9th-11th grade).
Will Jimeno, retired Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department officer, and survivor of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was there to give a speech and award the students.
To learn more about his story, you can read his autobiography. His children’s book is titled Immigrant, American, Survivor: A Little Boy Who Grew Up To Be All Three, and his adult’s book is titled, Sunrise Through the Darkness: A Survivor’s Account of Learning to Live Again Beyond 9/11.
“As you go forward in life, remember that you have the opportunity to make a positive impact in this world,” Jimeno said to the students.
Other speakers and presenters included: Lorenzo Rios (Chief Executive Officer of Clovis Veterans Memorial District and U.S. Army Veteran), Terra Brusseau (Executive Director of The California 9/11 Memorial), Dr. Michele Cantwell-Copher (Fresno County Superintendent of Schools), Lisa Benham-Lewis, Ed.D. (Grant Director at Fresno County Superintendent of Schools), John Sherron (Director of Curriculum & Instruction at Washington Unified School District), among others.
The contest finalists, not including the list of top 10’s, are as follows:
2023 Top 3 – Junior High Art
Allison Chung, Grade 7, Alta Sierra Intermediate School
Giselle Rubio, Grade 8, Clark Intermediate School
David Barbosa Martinez, Grade 8, Washington Academic Middle School
2023 Top 3 – High School Art
Isabella Avery, Grade 9, Clovis High School
Mary Vasquez, Grade 11, Roosevelt High School
Cindy Parra, Grade 9, Roosevelt High School
2023 Top 3 – Junior High Poetry
Kendall Metzler, Grade 8, Alta Sierra Intermediate School
Jameson Tadlock, Grade 8, Alta Sierra Intermediate School
Kai Katoch, Grade 8, Alta Sierra Intermediate School
2023 Top 3 – High School Poetry
Ger Thao, Grade 11, Roosevelt High School
Katherine Calloway, Grade 11, Roosevelt High School
Meridian Yang, Grade 11, Roosevelt High School
2023 Logo Winner
Catrina Johnson, Grade 12, Washington Union High School