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VALLEY FOCUS | Pacoima

Schoolgirl to Be Honored for Essay

July 25, 1998|MICHAEL BAKER

A San Fernando Valley elementary schoolgirl will be among 15 students honored Sunday at Dodger Stadium for their essays on staying away from gangs and drugs.

Chrystyna Mendez of Pacoima elementary school was selected from among 1,000 L.A. Unified School District fifth-grade entrants in the contest sponsored by state Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa (D-Los Angeles). All 15 winners will be honored in a ceremony on the field at Dodger Stadium before the first pitch of Sunday's 5 p.m. game.

The 10- and 11-year-old students were asked to submit essays completing the sentence: "I will stay free from gangs, drugs and violence in my lifetime because . . . "

All of the contest participants received two tickets to the Sunday game between the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks, as did their teachers and parents. Villaraigosa and his family will also be at the game.

"The futures of these kids are incredibly bright, if we can offer them alternatives to joining gangs and staying clear of drugs," Villaraigosa said. "The Los Angeles Dodgers have always been strong role models for our youth, so I am pleased to join them in sponsoring this day at Dodger Stadium."

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