James Vandruff and Rogelia Hernandez were the first- and second-place winners in Payson Jewelers' annual Mother's Day essay contest. The students were invited to write essays about their mothers and what makes them special.
The prizes were a diamond ring for first and a Four Peaks amethyst ring for second, from Payson Jewelers, owned and operated by Robert and Melissa Higginbotham.
Vandruff, a student at Payson High School, wrote the following about his mother:
"A mother is a very honorable position in society. You are, in a sense, a gardener of the future leaders of your culture. With the right amount of nourishment and just enough love and guidance, you can make what once was a small and insignificant seed into a great and most fruitful tree. I have the great fortune to have the greatest gardener of all, my mother.
"What makes my mother so special is in part the everyday things. My mother cooks and cleans for me. And, of course, my mother, especially to her disliking, still at times picks up my dirty socks and places them in the hamper. I can't even count the number of things she has purchased for me. And she could make a living off the amount of time and effort she has devoted to my English homework and history papers. These things are qualities that many mothers have, but what makes my mother the best is the little things.
"All through my life my mother has been someone to tell my problems to. I can express my deepest feelings and know no matter how foolish I sound or how bad my reasoning is she will still love me. When I am feeling depressed or down in the dumps, I know that all I need is a smile and a hug from my mom and what seemed like a dark and gloomy day will become a day full of sunshine and joy.
"One thing that I love about my mom is that she has so many things to do and so little time to accomplish her tasks, but she somehow still finds time to help me with any problems that I come to face in my life. Whether it be finishing a project or getting a ride to practice, she is always right beside me helping me along. Time is a valuable thing and she spends most of hers helping me.
"What I would say makes her the greatest mother of all though is one thing that I doubt any ordinary mother would do. She has to deal with me. I am not the greatest son in the world. I am known to argue and be very rebellious. But somehow, no matter how challenging I am being, she still loves me and continues to help me.
"My mother does more for me than any person that I could imagine. I call her mom, but titles like the following could also be substituted: Teacher, doctor, coach, chef, dictionary, boss, poet, and even angel. I love my mother very much. She helps my everyday trials become bearable. I am a very fortunate person to be guided from such an elegant and caring woman. I don't think I can ever tell her enough, but she is the greatest mother in the world."
Rogelia Hernandez of Tonto Basin School won second place in the contest for her essay about Peggy Kelley.
"Why my mom is the best --because she is good to me, I like her very much, she loves me and my sisters. She is my grandma, but in my heart she is my mom always and forever."
Rogelia's sisters also submitted essays, which earned honorable mentions in the contest, along with 40 other entrants.