Eleven-year-old Jesse Hatch is the kind of child you always know is around.
Too often these days, that means he's causing trouble of some sort. But that description comes straight from the pastor of the church Hatch attends, Todd Arnold of Shepherd of the Pines Lutheran.
Hatch, a fifth-grade student at Julia Randall Elementary, is the latest recipient of a new honor proffered by the Zane Grey Country Kiwanis Club spiritual student of the month. He is the fourth student to be honored since the program began in September.
"Jesse has been part of our Sunday school since before I was around," Arnold said. "He is kind of the foundation of our Sunday school. He participates the whole time, he's active in our kids' club, and he regularly attends our vacation Bible school."
Just the kind of child, the Kiwanians want to honor through their new award. Member Bob Hibbert patterned the program after one in California.
"Too often, kids who get recognized are involved in drugs, or they're in sports, or they're glamor kids," Hibbert said. "We feel kids who are involved at their churches ought to be recognized too. The Kiwanis motto is 'Children are Priority One,' and this is in keeping with that motto. Last year we gave out $13,000 in scholarships, and we support youth at all levels."
"He's an interesting young man," Hibbert said. "He has viewpoints and he speaks them."
As you might expect, Hatch is also a good student. He recently took top honors in the annual spelling bee at JRE.
His mother, Traci Hatch, isn't sure why he's such a great son. She just knows he always has been.
"Ever since he was three, he's just always had very good insight," she said. "And he's always been a very spiritual little boy."
Besides church, Hatch's interests include hiking, reading and riding his bike. Once, when his grandparents were away, he even rode his bike to church.
"We've always said from the time he was little, if anybody is going to save the world, it will be Jesse," his mother said. "He is just always concerned."