Elizabethtown High School freshman Ayran Casanova was wearing a big smile Thursday as she accepted an award for an essay she wrote last school year.
Casanova, 14, was one of the winners of the Family Resource and Youth Service Center Coalition of Kentucky’s statewide essay and artwork contest based on the theme “The Time FRYSC helped me succeed.”
Casanova entered an essay in the contest while in eighth-grade at West Point Independent School. As a winner, she was awarded a plaque and a $100 check.
Having wrote the essay at the end of last school year, Casanova said she had forgotten about it.
“I was pretty surprised when they told me that I won the $100 because I don’t really remember much about it,” she said. “But it was pretty cool to get this. ... I wasn’t really expecting this.”
West Point Independent School family resources coordinator Jessica Rains said Casanova’s essay was “very sweet.”
The essay talked about the small size of the school and how there are not a lot of resources available, such as the lack of a guidance counselor. Rains said she typically fills that role.
“The essay was kind of personal. She would come to me a lot. We would talk through her problems,” Rains said. “She is a bright girl, very smart and very talented.”
The coalition received many entries from every region in the state, but Casanova’s essay was the winner for the middle school ages. She was the only student at West Point Independent to make a submission in the contest.
Casanova said she didn’t have any real reason to enter an essay in the contest other than just to do it.
“I just did it to do it. I always wrote things for the school last year,” she said.
Leslie Hall, president of the Family Resource and Youth Service Center Coalition of Kentucky, said the support described in Casanova’s essay stood out.
“She really talked about the support she received from her family resource center and the coordinator in helping her achieve her goals,” said Hall, who also is the Youth Service Center coordinator at North Hardin High School.
Karl Olive, Elizabethtown High School assistant principal and former West Point principal, said it came as no surprise to him that Casanova won an award for her writing.
“She is just a good kid all the way around,” he said. “She’s got a great personality, great attitude and is sharp as a tack.”