Abraham Lincoln Middle students explain their love of Port Arthur through essay contest

Published 12:36 am Saturday, April 1, 2023

Port Arthur means a lot to Jamor Ragan, Lucia Acosta and Isabella Canales.

The city is a great town that sometimes gets a bad rap, has caring teachers and has a lot to offer, according to Ragan, Acosta and Canales.

The three are students at Abraham Lincoln Middle School and winners of the Port Arthur Quasquincentennial Essay Contest honoring the city’s 125th birthday. The writing prompt was “What Port Arthur Means to Me.”

Abraham Lincoln Middle School students that took part in the essay contest pose for a group photo. (Mary Meaux/The News)

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Sixteen students entered the contest and the top three earned gift cards for $100, $50 and $25, according to information from Port Arthur Independent School District.

Canales, a 7th grader, said her essay talked about how the city is sometimes judged negatively.

“I wrote a lot of things about it (Port Arthur) but mostly, it’s a great town. Most people think it’s bad and bad kids come out of it,” said Canales, who won third place.

But Port Arthur is not just football, though football is important to many in the city, she said.

“There’s been great kids that came out of it and it has a lot of great things for everyone,” she said. “And it has great schools as well. A great education program and I look forward to finishing in a good college.”

Ragan, an 8th grader, took first place with her essay.

“I wrote about how a lot of my family was raised here and how even though a lot of people have spent their whole lives here, they’ve never really thought about how amazing it is,” Ragan said.

She lauded the fact there are programs for “everyone,” whether they have ADHD or are autistic, they can be part of everything.

Lincoln Middle School Principal Dr. Glenn Mitchel, left, and sixth grade Principal Dwight Wagner speak to students Thursday.

The school has many chances for inclusion, she said, including a robotics team and sports.

“And we have a lot of caring teachers who, this is their hometown too, so they care about it as well,” Ragan said.

Acosta, a 6th grader, said for her Port Arthur is all of the memories she’s had living here.

“I truly love Port Arthur and most of my family lives here and all of my memories are here, too,” Acosta said. “So I really can’t imagine the kind of person I would be if I didn’t grow up here. It’s very inclusive and a fun place to live.”

All three girls have their sights set on attending Wilson Early College High School in the future.

Dwight Wagner, sixth grade principal, said retired educators graded the essays.

Principal Dr. Glenn Mitchell told the essay writers he was proud of them for participating in the Quasquincentennial Essay Contest.