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Winners of the “Eco Hero” essay contest celebrate their persuasive submissions Saturday, April 19 on a whale watching trip with the Gray Whale Foundation. Courtesy photo
Winners of the “Eco Hero” essay contest celebrate their persuasive submissions Saturday, April 19 on a whale watching trip with the Gray Whale Foundation. Courtesy photo

By Andrea Papagianis

Local fifth-graders were honored by school district leaders Wednesday, April 23 for their essays highlighting what it means to be an “eco hero.”

The Capistrano Unified School District’s Board of Trustees recognized 15 young scholars from across the district who excelled in way that benefited the district at large. The students took part in an essay contest sponsored by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s Eco-Adventure Center and the Gray Whale Foundation.

Of the 225 CUSD students that submitted compositions, 15 were chosen by district staff as winning scholars. Local winners include Ashley Ortego-Hernandez from Kinoshita Elementary School; Rylee Springman, from Palisades Elementary School and Sara Perez, from R.H. Dana Elementary School.

Contest winners were rewarded with a whale watching excursion Saturday, April 19. The students were welcomed in VIP fashion with a walk down the green carpet before their ocean adventure. Each student was themselves named an “Eco Hero” and was recognized as a CUSD “Extra Miler” for their work.

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