People who overcome enormous odds through the power of optimism are an inspiration to us all.
That was the message of Haley Vaughn’s winning essay in the Optimist Club International’s 2015 essay contest. The Perry High School sophomore read her winning entry to the members of the Perry Optimists at their Wednesday night meeting at the Perry Public Library.
Vaughn’s essay described the challenges successfully overcome by two notable women, beginning the American writer and social activist Helen Keller, who lost her sight and hearing in infancy yet went on to become a militant defender of socialism and organized labor at a time, shortly after World War I, when such ideas frightened the U.S. ruling class.
Vaughn also said she was inspired by Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head as a pre-teen by Taliban zealots when she spoke out for the right of females to an education. Yousafzai won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize at 17, the youngest person to do so.
Vaughn was accompanied by her mother, Stacy Vaughn of Perry. Her father is Perry Police Chief Eric Vaughn.
The Optimists were unanimous in commending Haley for her skills as a writer and in congratulating Stacy on her good fortune in having such a talented daughter. Optimist Lawrence Bice brought candy for Haley, and the club presented her with a medallion.