Vasty Urias wins Odessa Chamber’s inaugural National Civics Bee
If anyone can aptly describe victory, it is Vasty Urias.
Urias, an 8th grader at Adinvita Private School, was crowned winner of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce’s Inaugural National Civics Bee on Saturday, April 15. For her efforts, she earned the $500 grand prize.
The competition, which took place in Cooper Lecture Hall of the UTPB Science & Technology Building, challenged all 6th, 7th or 8th grade students in Odessa to submit an essay that identifies a problem facing the community.
Coming in second place of the Civics Bee was Alina Ahmad, 8th grader at Harmony Science Academy, who earned $250. Elijah Munoz, 7th grader at St. John’s Episcopal School, earned $175 with a third place finish, followed by Moyinoluwa “Precious” Omotoye, 8th grader at Harmony Science Academy, in fourth place ($50 Cinergy Gift Card) and Zoey Tijerina, 6th grader from Adinvita Private School, in fifth place ($50 Cinergy Gift Card).
The first through third place winners will advance to the 2023 Texas Civics Bee this summer, according to Alison Gray, the Odessa Chamber’s marketing and communications representative.
The essays were judged by U.S. Chamber representatives and 10 students from Harmony Science Academy, Adinvita Private School and St. John’s Episcopal School. Three Odessans served as local judges for the live event: Ector County Judge Dustin Fawcett, Young Professionals of Odessa Board Chair Kaylie Banda and Dr. Adrian Vega, Executive Director of the Education Partnership of the Permian Basin. Odessa American Publisher Pat Canty served as the event emcee.
The Odessa Chamber was one of five Texas Chambers and one of 51 nationally participating in the event.
“We hope to grow this event in the coming years,” Gray said.