June 3, 2023
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By Gail M. Williams
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

Two Muleshoe High School seniors wrote and spoke their way to victory in the Lions Club District Scholarship competition.
Mercy Manzanales placed first in the Diabetes Awareness Essay Contest and first in the Outstanding Youth Essay Contest, winning a total of $2,000. Marisol Flores placed first in the Drug Awareness Speech Contest, winning $1,000.
Both have earned the right to advance to the State Lions Club Scholarship Contest in May for a chance at even more scholarship money.
Jimmie Kay Moore, treasurer of the Muleshoe Lions Club, coordinates the contests, which involve writing and speaking. In high school, she was involved with speech competitions and says she is passionate about creating opportunities for students who might not be involved in other scholarship activities.
Moore said the Outstanding Youth award is based partially on the speech presentation, but also on a personal interview, their GPA and personal references.
“This is only second year that the Muleshoe Lions Club has offered the speech and essay contest for juniors and seniors,” Moore said. “The club is on its fifth year following reorganization.”
The daughter of Jose Manuel Vasquez and Philomena Muñoz, Mercy plans to attend the University of Dallas were she will study actuarial science with a goal of becoming an actuary.
“I mainly write for school projects,” she said, “but I try to keep on top of everything.”
Mercy learned a great deal about diabetes during her research for the essay.
“It was really fascinating to me,” she said. “I was just trying to draw attention to the disease. I wanted to remind everyone that people with diabetes are still people.”
Mercy presented her entire essay to judges during the Outstanding Youth contest.
“Usually nerves do get to me,” she said. “I’m nervous when I’m presenting, but it does ease a little bit when I focus on what I’m trying to portray.”
Following graduation, Marisol, the daughter of Lorena Flores and Hector Flores, plans to attend South Plains College, then go on to West Texas A&M to major in biology. She looks forward to a future as a marine biologist.
“I used to want to be a writer,” she said. “Now I write for school and for my own purposes.”
In researching her speech online, Marisol said she thought first of examples of famous people and drug addiction, then moved on to what could be done to prevent addiction and drug interventions.
“The speech was primarily about opioids,” she said. “I spoke about new regulations clamping down on doctors and companies who prescribe for pain and distribute them.”
Marisol said she feels comfortable talking to people because of her experience in speech and debate competitions.
Mercy and Marisol will have an opportunity to refine their essays and presentations before the state competition in Longview on Saturday, May 16.
“I want to thank the Lions Club in particular,” Mercy said. “Without them, Marisol and I wouldn’t even have had this opportunity.”
“I want to thank Miss Burch and Miss Smith,” Marisol said. “I’m extremely grateful to them. I also want to thank my own family.”
April Smith, the CTE instructor who teaches computer and accounting classes at MHS, coordinated the competition along with Vickie Burch, senior English teacher.
“We’re very proud of Mercy and Marisol,” Smith said. “We wish them much luck, and, hopefully, a chance to earn some more scholarship money.”



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