HUSD's First District-Wide Student Essay Contest


Hemet Unified School District created its first district-wide Student Essay Contest. However, this contest was unique because although it was created to recognize students, it expanded to mutually benefit staff by gaining a better understanding of the students they serve. 

Educators are continually asking “what is best for students?” Based on staff’s experience and interactions with students, new programs and initiatives are implemented to best support the students they serve. This year, staff was able to gain a better understanding of the life of an HUSD student. 

Students, kindergarten through 12th grade, were asked to submit an essay following the prompt, “A Day in the Life of an HUSD Student”. Students were encouraged to describe their daily routines, celebrations and struggles in a 300 word essay. This contest would allow staff to recognize a first, second and third place winner in an elementary and secondary category.

What began as a recognition opportunity, quickly expanded and staff realized this contest’s full potential.  Staff was able to use the information they received in the essays to understand what areas students viewed as a growth opportunity and what areas really helped support students throughout their educational journey. In addition to this insight, staff members that do not get to interact with students on a regular basis were asked to be the judges for the contest. These employees were able to learn more about the daily lives of Hemet students. 

Thank you to the students that submitted essays, staff that encouraged students to participate, and the judges of the first annual HUSD Student Essay Contest!


Elementary Winners:

Maribel Polanco

Russell Johnson

Annalise Vasquez


Secondary Winners:

Miriam Berlanga

Louis Martinez

Luis Velasco



Annette Davis-Thole, Director of Elementary Education

Ann Moore, Centralized Student Services Manager

Donna Webster, Human Resources Technician

Diana Diaz, Transportation Department Clerk

Patty Pereida, District Community Liaison

Toni Whipperman, Health Services Secretary

Cathy Anady, Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for Secondary English)

April Jones, Student Support Service, Marriage Family Therapist

Robert Kraemer, Warehouse Delivery Driver