Student Nets National Award Thanks to Mary Ellen Cash

Helenda & Keyshawn at the state competition with
Mary Ellen Cash in the background

“I tear up just talking about how much Mary Ellen Cash has done to support our family,” said Helenda Davis, mother of Keyshawn Davis. Her eyes tear up as she shares her gratitude and the love and joy is obvious on her face.

Mary Ellen took the Davis family under her wing and helped coach mom Helenda and Keshawn, tutoring and mentoring the pair during a difficult time in their lives.

The tutoring paid off in multiple ways. Helenda resolved some life issues and Keyshawn earned multiple awards at the local, state, and national level.

The accomplishments began when the 11-year-old submitted an essay to the Golden Gate VFW Post 7721’s Patriots Penn Essay Contest. Keyshawn was excited to learn he had taken first place. With the encouragement and support of Mary Ellen, he went on to take first place at District 13, which included eight VFW Posts. He then set his sights on the state competition for the Department
of (State) of Florida.

As Patriotic Instructress for Post 7721 at the mid-winter conference, Mary Ellen was on hand when the winners were recognized. They noticed Keyshawn’s’ name listed in the program, but no ranking was given, and they had hoped for a third-place finish. As the Master of Ceremonies announced the third-place winner, it wasn’t Keyshawn. With excited glances they looked about as the second-place winner was announced, and it wasn’t Keyshawn.

About this time nerves were tightening; excitement and fear took hold and sheer joy erupted as the Master of Ceremonies announced Keyshawn as the first-place winner for the Department of Florida. Keyshawn’s bright red, white and blue bow tie reflected off his glasses, shedding a red, white and blue rainbow throughout the room.

Keyshawn’s essay was submitted to Nationals and out of 136,000 entries submitted, he earned sixth place at the 2017 VFW National Judging Competition.

Keyshawn recently published his first book, “Sea of Darkness.” An impressive accomplishment for an 11-year-old! As a published author and national award winner, Keyshawn continues to inspire those around him and receives inspiration from mentors like Mary Ellen and other teachers who take the time to recognize and nurture the talents of today’s youth.

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