Best Mom in Southwest – 2017

In 1992, the Southwest Orlando Bulletin — then just a little more than 6 years old — introduced what has become a Southwest Orlando institution — the annual Best Mom in Southwest contest. Now in its 26th year, the contest is a way for residents to express to their moms how important they truly are.

It seems that mothers are perpetually protecting their children from the ills of the world, tirelessly cooking and cleaning, and preparing their children for adult life, all while managing to somehow be the kindest and gentlest women, despite occasionally having to dole out discipline.

Congratulations to this year’s winners: Amanda Marzouk, overall winner; Mason Taylor, 12-and-older winner; Mackenzie Crownover, 10-11 winner; and Lexi Naegele, 9-younger winner; and all of our honorable mentions. They join a long list of past participants who believe that their mothers are truly the best.

Overall winner

Amanda Marzouk, 14
Keene’s Pointe
Best Mom: Mary Marzouk

My mother is my voice of reason, storyteller and nerve-calmer. The list goes on forever. However, no words can ever convey the way I feel about her. She means more to me than any words on a paper or stanzas in a haiku can express.
Despite her always-busy schedule, she is able to be my best friend when I need her or a comedian when stress takes hold of me. Whenever I feel as if the world has turned against me, I look up and find my mother there, ready to embrace me in her arms. I come home from school, and she is never hesitant to listen to my daily accounts about class. My mom is my heart and soul that cannot always be seen, but the work she does will forever be there to keep me going.
My mother has bettered my life through her own courageousness to boldly face any danger for my sake. When I was young and ill, she trodded through blizzards just to attain medication. The persistence I have seen in her persuades me to do better each day. My mother was my role model before I ever knew what that meant. In every waking moment, I fight because I know she does the same for me.
There have been endless mistakes that I have made, and my mother has lightened the guilt by saying, “Losing a battle should never dissuade you from winning a war, so never let that stop you from continuing to fight.”

12-and-older winner

Mason Taylor, 14
Winter Garden
Best Mom: Glenda Taylor

A mother is potentially the most influential person in a child’s life. Her gentle spirit intermingles with the youth and nurtures the child to succeed. When your mood falters, it is always your mother who rekindles your happiness. How often is it that you are unsure of a decision and turn to your mother for help? My mother is nothing short of this.
Coming from poverty, she went against all odds and enlisted in the Marine Corps. Years later, she received degrees in both business management and education. What started as only aspirations grew into reality.
Ever since I took my first breath, it was my mom who guided me as best she could with love and kindness. She drives me everywhere, supports me through thick and thin, and has given so much of herself to help me. If you can imagine a puzzle with missing pieces, it is my mom who gives of herself to help me grow more complete. The hours spent cleaning, watching over my sisters and me, and giving her best day in and out are only a small part of who she is as a person, who can only be described in two words — my mom. If I were to ask, she would say she wouldn’t change a thing.

10-11 winner

Mackenzie Crownover, 10
Best Mom: Shannon Vaughan

If you ask someone who their superhero is, they will most likely say Superman or Batman. My mom can’t shoot lasers from her eyes. She doesn’t have super-strength, but no Wolverine can beat my mom. My mom is the most hardworking person on the planet. She works 12 hours a day, 60 hours a week. She even makes time to pick out my pajamas every night. Her job is to run the intensive care unit at Orlando Health. She deserves some credit. Even while doing all this, she still makes time for my problems such as crushes, grades and friends. I have never seen someone work as hard as her and still make time for their children.
My mom is the most caring person on the planet. She helps me with my grades and encourages me to do great things. My mom is the sun, and I am the moon. I need her to shine. She will be there for as long as I need her, maybe even 5 billion years. I can be so mean to my mom, but she still tells me I’m special and that she loves me.
Your mom may or may not be as good as my mom, but there is one thing I am sure of: my mom is my superhero.

9-and-younger winner

Lexi Naegele, 9
Stoneybrook West
Best Mom: Lori Naegele

My mom is the best, because she has taught me to be myself and not care what others think about me. She has also taught me to not be scared of the future. My mom is the role model in my family. Since my dad is usually out of town, she has to take care of my sisters, two dogs, three cats and me.
I was adopted May 29, 2012. My sister has special needs. This causes her to get mad a lot. But my mom has found ways to help her. Now my sister is doing better.
I think my mom is the prettiest in my family. Either with or without makeup, she is beautiful. It is funny when she lets me try on her makeup, and I mess up. Overall, my mom is the best. I don’t think my life would be complete without her.

Honorable Mentions

Do you know who the best mom in Southwest is? Well, I know it is my mom. I think she is the best mom, because she is nice, sweet, smart and pretty. My mom is a fantastic doctor and mother. Some reasons to prove it are first, she comforts me when I am sad. She will ask me what’s wrong, and when I tell her, she always has a great solution and great way to make me feel better. Second, she is a great cook. She can make all sorts of food and desserts.
Third, when I do not feel well, she stays home and helps me get better. She knows exactly what to do when I am hurt or sick, because she is a doctor. She works at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. She saves people’s lives every day. She even has to stay at work for 34 hours straight.
Fourth, she comes to all of my field trips and events at my school. Fifth, she is the one who made me who I am. Without her, I would be nothing.
So, as you can see, I have proved that my mom is the best mom in Southwest.
Veda Srikantan, 9
Westminster Landing

My mom has always been by my side. She has been there to help me make good choices. She supports everything I do to achieve my goals in education, sports and spirituality. My mom is the smile and light to my day. She encourages me to go beyond my goals. She is my role model. I have never heard her say anything using bad language. With my mom being both of my caretakers, she takes the position of both of my parents.
My mom doesn’t mind sacrificing herself for me. We have a very special communication between us. She has a huge amount of patience. I don’t even know how she does it. When I have difficulties, she helps me with her whole heart.
She has helped me choose the correct path based on God. She encourages me to serve the Lord every Sunday at Mass. One of my mom’s goals was for me to go to a Catholic school, because she wanted me to grow in God’s knowledge and practice it at school and home. She teaches me to be thankful for all God has given us, from the smallest things to the biggest things. She teaches me that problems are blessings, because we learn from them. The reason I am on this Earth is because of her. She is my all. I love her so immensely!
Mariana Millan, 12

My mom is the best, because she is funny. Like one time, she told a joke that didn’t make any sense. She is the kindest person I have ever talked to. She is as flexible as a rubber band. If one thing doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to, she can figure out another way to do it.
She is helpful in many different ways. For example, she buys my clothes and food. She washes the dishes and cleans the house. She cooks the food and feeds me. She is awesome, because she knows what I like. Sometimes she surprises me and gives me a little treat. My mom is so loving. Every day she says she loves me so, so, so much. I love her very, very, very much, too. At scary times, she hugs me tight. She does a lot of happy things for me.
This is why my mom is the best.
Luke Carroll, 8
Alexander Ridge

My mom is the best mom in the universe. She makes everyone’s day one of their best days and tops it off with a smile. Even if someone is having the worst day of their life, she makes it a little bit better. There are a variety of reasons why she is the best, and to find out why, read the next few paragraphs.
She understands and listens. For example, if something happens at school, she understands, because the same situation happened to her when she was my age. She listens to what I’m saying, because she cares. She’s also the best, because she makes me laugh constantly. When I am sad, mad or even bored, she will make weird faces, tell me a weird story, come up with a weird dance, and so many other things.
No matter what, she loves me. If we get into an argument or she gets mad at me, I know that she still loves me and that she will love me for eternity. Also, every night she tells me that she loves me to the moon and back no matter what. Or she says, “I love you infinity times infinity.”
She’s the best mom anyone could ask for. All I have to say is that I love her.
Anna Kate Fuqua, 11
Windsor Landing

My mom loves me so much. She supports me in all my dreams when I need her to. She takes care of me by herself. She cooks and cleans for me. She is my best cheerleader. We have so much fun together. We play basketball, ride bikes, swim and even ride go-karts together. Most of all, she teaches me to love Jesus, and we go to church every Sunday. I want to be just like my mom when I grow up, always doing things for others.
You are the best mom in the whole wide world. I’m glad God chose you to be my mom. You are the only mom I want. I love you to the moon and back. This hug is only for you.
Jonny Mac Phillips, 9

A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.
This quote by Agatha Christie describes the kind of mom I have. She is very helpful and puts our family first. She helps me when I need help. For instance, my mom is good at math. She can help me if I am stuck. My mom is always there to remind me if I forget to do something. Another thing my mom does is she helps me feel better when I am sad. She tells me funny jokes or talks to me about what happened.
My mom puts her family first. She works very hard, so we can have money to buy food and supplies. She keeps our house clean and organized, but she also has fun with our family. At Christmastime, my mom took our family to downtown Orlando to see the Christmas lights. It was beautiful. Happiness is having the best mom in the world. As you can tell, I am very happy to have the best mom in the world.
Katharine Nguyen, 10
Windsor Landing

I believe my mom is the best in Southwest. She is loving, caring and hardworking. I love her for who she is. I think my mom is the best, because she gives me advice when I need it. She is a great help. She helps me with projects, homework, and even arts and crafts. Amazeballs! The most important thing is she loves me for me. My mom truly is the best. One thing I love doing with her is shopping. Sometimes we say we only need two things, and we end up with 30. Those are all reasons my mom is the best in the Southwest.
Milana Meyer, 9
Orange Tree

My mom is the best, because she’s loving, intelligent and courageous. She loves her children. She’s a stay-at-home mom, so she has to be strong. Sometimes, that can be hard. Whenever I’m sad, she cheers me up. My mom is truly the best.
My mother is loving. She has given me a nurturing environment to grow in. She gives my brother and me an equal amount of love, showing that both of us are special to her. When she talks to somebody else, her eyes and words radiate kindness and attention. Finally, my mom shows love, no matter how mad, tired or stressed she is.
My mom is intelligent. She helps me answer questions in life that I don’t understand. She gives me advice for the future. Most importantly, she gives me advice on how to respect myself and others.
My mother is courageous. She has the strength to do what is right. She has the willpower to seek justice around her. However, she has one special ability: the ability to give up her time and money for a good cause.
My mother is the best mom. She’s loving to everyone she meets. She’s intelligent and helps everyone she can. She’s courageous and will always say what she thinks is right. Without a doubt, my mother is the only person who can be my mother, handpicked by God to be my guardian.
Joshua Salva, 12
Silver Woods

My mommy is the best, because she helps me clean up my room. And she loves me, because when I look into her eyes, she’s so beautiful, and she smiles at me. She picks out my clothes that I haven’t worn before, and she gets me shoes that I haven’t worn before. When she talks and I copy her and we talk at the same time, it is so funny. She helps me with my homework. My mommy is a pretty singer, and I love to sing songs with her. I love to cuddle with her at bedtime. She is the best, best, best, best mommy in the world.
Katie LaPeters, 4
Mabel Bridge

My mom, Chantel, is the best in Southwest, because she has the best arms when she hugs me. Mom has blonde hair. She also has eyes that change colors. She is beautiful.
My mom makes the best food ever. She is the best cook in the house. She makes yummy pasta, delicious chicken and ham. I love her when she makes breakfast for dinner. She has awesome cooking skills.
My mom has a wonderful job. Her job is to take care of my younger brother and me. She loves her job. She is the best, because she makes me laugh by telling funny jokes. She also turns the boring times into fun times by playing with us fairly. She plays board games like Disney Who Am I with us. Out of everything, her kisses are the best.
Jayden Spotteck, 9

When you think of a hero what comes to mind? Is it Batman, Superman, Spider-Man? But what about your mom? Society has painted this picture of what a hero is supposed to be. In order to fit the category of hero you need: superpowers, brightly colored costumes and a damsel in distress who must be saved. Whenever I think of a hero, there is one person who comes to mind immediately, and her name is Cheryl Dzambo, or as I have the honor of calling her, Mom. She might not have superpowers or wear brightly colored costumes and capes, but she holds the qualities that truly make up a hero.
My mom is a strong, courageous, kind and loving person. She would be the first person to drop everything in order to help anyone in need. She works a full-time job, and yet she still makes time for my sisters and me. Whenever I am sick or feeling down, she is the first person who rushes to my side. She is at all of my swim meets, and I can always hear her cheering me on. I look up to my mom in every possible way, and I hope I am as loving and caring as she is when I am an adult.
“I believe in love at first sight, because I have been loving my mother since I opened my eyes.”
Kimberly Dzambo, 14
The Manors

My mom is the best in Southwest, because she is kind and thoughtful. My mom’s name is Ebonie Hopkins. She is 37 years old, and her birthday is April 22. She is from Illinois. Her favorite game is Uno, and her favorite color is green. Her favorite food is steak.
My mom cooks the best food. She can turn anything into something delicious. I especially like her pancakes, burgers, fries, steaks and cakes. Any meal she cooks for me is scrumptious.
My mom works as an adoption recruiter. She finds families who would like to adopt a child. Sometimes she plans big events at SeaWorld for the children. Her job is very hard, because most people want a certain child, but my mom is so brilliant, she can handle it.
My mom is supportive, brave, brilliant, bold, special and helpful. She taught me to stand up for myself and others. Even when I do something horribly, she still supports me.
My mom is magnificent. That’s why my mom is the best in Southwest.
Jeryn James, 9

My mother is the best, because she is joyful all the time. Let’s say I got a bad grade on my test; my mom would come to me, console me and give me tips on how I can get a better grade. My mom doesn’t only help me, but others as well, such as my brother, father and other people. My mother has good traits in helping others, as I said. Some traits she has that inspire me are kindness, honesty, happiness and royalty. My mom also helps animals outside our house by giving them water to drink if they are injured.
In almost everything my mom does, she has a helping nature. I wrote this paragraph to just show you why I love her. It may not win, but I already feel that I have won. Why? Because the gift I’ve had in my life since I was born is having a great mother who loves me dearly.
Harshini Bulusu, 8
Dr. Phillips

My mom is the best mom in Southwest. She helps me whenever I need help. My mom plays lots of games with me. She trusts me. Why wouldn’t anyone want a mom like her? My mom takes care of me. She even plays with me when I have a little brother. No one has a mom like her. When I am hungry, she feeds me. She is the best mom ever.
Allison Curtis, 6
Sand Lake Pointe

My mom is amazing; she is so loving and caring. She is like a hawk and senses when something has gone south. She knows what is best for me and even helps me make decisions sometimes. She not only cares for me, she takes time out of her day to volunteer regularly and never says no when she is given a task. Honestly, I don’t have a single clue what I would do without her.
My mom has taught me millions of things, but there are three especially important ones. First, she taught me to love others as myself. This is very important, because our world could be so peaceful if people would only follow this. Her second teaching was to build trust with one or two people who I can count on. This is important to me, because I need someone to talk to when I am down and grow closer to my friends through trust. Lastly, she taught me to have hope. She tells me, “Cuando nada esta serviendo, algo vas a servir,” which means, “When nothing is working, something will work.”
My mom is my guardian angel on Earth. She has always protected and defended me. I could not have been any luckier than to get such a beautiful, loving mother. The final reason I love my mom with all my heart is because she takes me to Chipotle.
Thanks, Mom. I love you.
Daniel Hernandez, 14
Tuscany Ridge

My mom has an awesome personality. My mom’s name is Mary. She is an art teacher and has a hobby for all different kinds of art. She teaches all students up to middle school, except fifth grade. My mom loves to teach kids in school or over the summer.
My mom supports me for upcoming events. She helps me with my lines for a play. She got me ready for the actual play. She helps me study for big tests. She also helped me study and read words for a spelling bee.
My mom makes me feel good by congratulating me on a hardworking day. She makes every day feel special. She gives the best hugs. The most amazing thing she does all day is work hard. She tutors all week long, five days in a row. My mom does art camp and club to earn money for the family.
She makes lunches in the morning and cooks dinner at night, except when Dad finally decides to cook. She drives us to school. The No. 1 thing that I like about her is that she gives us love.
Madison Salgado, 8
Windermere Trails

My mom is the best, because she takes naps with me and cuddles me at the same time. Another reason she is amazing is because she plays Monopoly, which is my favorite game that she plays with me. I love when my mom cooks. She makes the best food. She could be on a TV show. I love my mom.
Amber Brych, 7
Woodlands of Windermere

My mom is the best mom ever. There’s not enough room to describe how amazing she is, but I’ll try. I’m not writing for money; I’m writing to show everyone how awesome she is and all she does. She deserves to be recognized for her hard work.
My mom is super kind. She supports me in all I do, no matter what it is. She once saved a turtle’s life by taking it off the road and let us bring it to our home and keep it as a pet. She also saved a dog she found on the side of the road, brought it to the vet, and gave it to the pound after a couple days. She thought she shouldn’t leave the dog at the pound, so she got her. She once skipped a work trip, because it got back home on my birthday morning, and since I was in school, she just didn’t want to miss it.
She is super intelligent. If I need help with studying or homework, she is quick to help. She has a good job and is the boss, and you need to be smart to do that. As you can see, my mom deserves this award. I love her so, so much. My mom would do anything to make me happy. That’s why she is the best mother ever.
Sean Fitzpatrick, 12
Windermere Downs

Four kids are a lot to handle, but somehow, my mom manages to take care of us all. She is my hero, best friend and all-around greatest mom of all time.
My mom is a very positive person. When I am feeling down, she is the person I go to, and she always cheers me up. Plus, she doesn’t hesitate to show love toward her family and friends by helping and/or making us smile. My mom always looks on the bright side. If I lose a game or get a bad grade, she encourages me to work harder. My mom just makes me happy and is the best influence a kid could have.
My mom is a multitasker. She owns her own company. She runs a national health care business and helps thousands of people throughout the nation. She is also able to attend all of our school and other events. After that, she comes home and cooks fabulous meals for the whole family. Even though it is a lot of action, my mom is organized through it all.
My mom is very talented and achieves many of her goals, along with her hobbies and interests. Furthermore, I am able to enjoy her amazing cooking three times a day. No doubt, my mom is talented, and, because of this, the best person to be around.
My mom is the most important person to me. I love her to the moon and back.
Savanna Schenk, 11

Who is crazy amazing, sweet like candy, bright as sunshine and loves me dearly? My mom, of course. I could go on and on and on about her excellence. My mom is for sure the most superior in the Southwest.
At school, she is the team leader for the whole eighth grade. That must be rigorous, but I know my mom can do it because she is highly intelligent and knows what she’s doing. Whenever I’m feeling blue, my mom knows my ticklish spot. She’s so intuitive and motivating. My mom is the most generous person I know.
I love her so much.
Another great quality is her humor. I think she is hilarious. She also thinks on the bright side. My mom is really enthusiastic. She is so encouraging, which is one of my favorite qualities she has. I appreciate her so much. My mom is the most spectacular mom a kid could have. She is so amazingly awesome.
Avery Twedt, 9
Steer Lake Pointe

I love my mom, because she loves me back. She exercises and plays with me a lot. My mom taught me how to snap my fingers and how to cook. Sometimes I watch TV shows with my mom. We like the same movies. I also watched the debates with her. My mom is the best. She helps me when I need her and helps me believe I can do it. We go to stores, and she also lets me do arts-and-crafts projects. My mom hugs and kisses me a lot, and I love her very much.
Akhtar Ahmad, 6
Phillips Landing

My mom is the very best. She is always busy with my brother, Cade, and me. Between me having dance class four days a week, sometimes performances on the weekends, and piano lessons, and Cade with high school baseball practice every day and games three or four times a week, my mom rushes around everywhere. This is why my mom is the very best.
On top of all that, she helps Cade and me with our homework and takes us to dentist and orthodontist appointments. My mom got me interested in cooking and baking, because she does that every week and still has time to make a delicious meal for her family. Best of all, my mom forced my dad to get me a cat for Christmas. She does lots of things for my brother and me, because she loves us very much.
My mom spends a lot of money on my brother and me. She buys us more expensive food to keep us healthy. Furthermore, she buys us organic food, because it is better for our bodies. She also takes us on lots of vacations. They cost a lot of money, but my mom wants us to have amazing experiences.
My mom is extravagant, spectacular and wonderful, because she is always busy being the best mom ever.
Reese Rutherford, 11
Windsor Landing

My mom is the best, because she takes good care of me. When I am sick, she makes it fun. We laugh and play together, but it’s not always fun and games. We fight and yell sometimes, but we always make up and say, “I’m sorry.”
My mom is there for me. When I get hurt, she knows what to do like a superhero. She makes it all OK. She makes me dinner, lunch and breakfast. I love her, and she loves me. We are like two birdies in a tree.
At night, she reads me a story, tucks me in and says good night. When I come home from school, she asks me, “How was your day?” I say, “It was good.” When I do my homework and struggle on a problem, she comes and helps.
I love her more every day. No one could ever take her away. She bakes with me, and when the treats are ready, I want to say, “Nothing is as sweet as you.” She helps me study for tests, even when she’s sick.
She is the best mom in the world, and no one can top her.
Erin Tomeu, 9

My mom is the best in Southwest because she’ll do anything in the world for me to be happy. She is cute and beautiful. My mom goes everywhere with me. She is always with me. She likes to go to the mall and movie theater.
My mom is there with me when I am sick and in the saddest and hardest times. She wishes she could transfer the sickness that I have to her, so I don’t have to feel bad. My mom is sweet, loving, caring, encouraging, awesome, cool, smart, giving, always thinking of others, independent, responsible, countable and the list could go on and on, trust me.
We like to spend time together and eat tacos, pizza, rice, beans and hotdogs. We also like spending time with friends and family, like our dog, cat and David. That’s why my mom is the best in the Southwest.
Alessa Diaz-Urbiola, 9
The Reserve at Belmere

Has your mom always been there for you? Has she helped you through hard times in life?
To start off, my mom is the best,
because she cares for me. In the morning, when I wake up, my mom makes breakfast, which means she cares for me to have a good, fresh start for the day. Also, my mom comes to my tennis tournaments and supports me to make me feel confident that I’ll do great.
Secondly, my mom teaches me new things. One thing my mom teaches me is how to make my lunch. It’s good to start off early in life,
because when it’s my responsibility to make my lunch later on, I’ll know how. Also, my mom taught me to never give up, because I’ll find a way. She’s also shown me that
education has a high value in life, so I need to try my best in school.
In addition, my mom is the best, because she drives me to day-to-day activities. She drives me to piano to show that she knows I love the piano. She drives me to tennis to show she supports me in whatever I end up doing in life.
Isabella Scherer, 10
Lake Down Crest

Moms are amazing, but my mom is the best. Moms are awesome in a lot of ways. First of all, my mom is funny. My mom makes really funny jokes and asks funny questions. My mom does crazy things, like every time I leave for school, my mom will do a funny hip-hop dance (probably because I left the house). My mom also sings funny and with random words.
Another thing is, my mom plays with me. My mom watches me play sometimes and will play with me (which is torture). My mom also helps me play and gives me “tips.”
One last thing is, my mom cooks great food. My mom makes awesome desserts, like gooey chocolate brownies. My mom also makes an awesome macaroni and a killer chicken.
To wrap things up, moms are amazing, but mine is the best.
Caden Collins, 11

My mother is the best in the Southwest, because when I am sad, she makes me happy. She plays with me. She helps me. She says I am everything to her, and that makes me happy. I love my mom. She is so funny, and my mom protects me. She is the best. She’s nice and awesome.
Ethan Hartfield, 6

I have always had fears, but my biggest fear is losing my mom. She is not just any mom; she is my best friend. Best friends come and go, but this one will always stay. I believe my mom is the best mom in the Southwest. If you don’t believe me, how about I convince you?
First of all, my mom knows how to cook, clean, build, drive a boat, bake, convince and help me with my education. My mom works her butt off to pay the bills, feed me nutritious meals, and, most importantly, keep a roof over me.
My mom is not just working 24 hours a day, she is actually working 24 hours a day alone. Luckily, she only has to take care of one child, but sometimes I can be a handful. My mom doesn’t really have a flexible schedule, but if I want her somewhere, she will be there. My mom would jump in front of a speeding car on the highway to save my life. She is literally everything I could have wished for.
One time, we went to Wisconsin to visit our family. We made snowmen, snow angels and even had snowball fights. My mom buys me toys and candy. My love for my mom is more powerful than a laser shooting your heart. I truly believe my mom is the best mom in Southwest Orlando.
Camden Moore, 10
Sand Lake Hills

My mom is the best for endless reasons. First of all, she is a single mother. It sounds hard being a single mom, but she makes it look easy. She is currently going to school to achieve her dream of being a radiologist. While having two kids, working full time and going to school, she’s a pro at it. She says how tired she is but still manages to stay awake. She works so hard to take care of our family and achieve her goals. Some things she does for me include cooking, washing my clothes, giving me shelter and buying me things. I know that my mom wants the best for me. My mom means the world to me.
My mom makes me smile. She jokes around a lot with me and makes me feel happy when I’m down or upset. She says that I can talk to her about anything. I feel like she understands me the best out of all the people I know.
To add to my sister and me, we have a dog. So my mom technically takes care of three kids. Dogs are a lot of work, and you have to buy them things, too. Our dog is very needy and likes a lot of attention. And, of course, my pro mom makes all that happen.
My mom is the most spectacular mom ever for various reasons. I love her.
Victoria Ruiz, 11

My mom’s name is Kimberly, and she is the best mom. I am sure there are a lot of great moms out there who love their kids, but my mom works really hard, especially with my schedule. She gets up every day at 4 a.m., because she works in Tampa, and has a babysitter stay with my brother and me to get us to school. She leaves for work so early so that she can leave Tampa at 2 p.m. to pick me up for early release from school at 3 p.m. I am on a competition gymnastics team and train five days a week, four hours per day. My mom picks me up and takes me to practice and then has to pick up my brother and take him to his practices and then come back and pick me up.
She stays up late preparing lunch and dinner for the next day since we don’t have a lot of time after school. She also helps me with my homework to make sure I get A’s in school. She doesn’t get a lot of sleep, but she sleeps a lot on the weekends. She also takes really good care of our cat and dog. We don’t have a lot of time during the week, but after she rests on the weekend, she tries to do something really fun with me.
Benjamin Monzella, 11
Sanctuary at Bay Hill

My mom is the best, because she supports me in everything I do and pushes me to do my best and help others. My mom helps my family with all our needs and others’ needs. She influences my life to be a light in others’ dark times.
My mom makes sure that my siblings and I do our best in school. She makes sure that we get a lot of work done, but also have breaks so we can rest our brains. Because Mom is a teacher, she goes to a teaching event every year so she can be an even better teacher. It helps us, her children, that she goes to these events, because then she can help us more with our work and put beauty into our writing. Mom is a big help with our education, and it pays off for her when she sees the good grades we get.
My mom is not just a teacher, she is a peace-maker and a love-spreader. She has helped the world so much by helping with our family’s nonprofit #HangAHeart. #HangAHeart is an organization in which kids and adults show love by sewing felt hearts for those who are experiencing dark times. Without my mom, there would be no #HangAHeart.
I am truly blessed to have such a loving mother who inspires me every day to be just as hardworking and kind as she is.
Victoria Salisbury, 11
Winter Oaks

My mother is my forever best friend. She gave me life, nurtures me, fights for me and, most importantly, loves me unconditionally. She taught me how to walk and talk. She shapes me into the very best version of myself. My mom is more than just a definition from My mom has the hardest job of all, but somehow she manages to keep up.
My mom is there when I need a shoulder to cry on, and she puts everyone’s needs before her own. My mother pushes me to do my best in everything I do, no matter what it is. No matter how bad her day has been, she is there for me. She never complains or says no. I can count on her to always stand by my side. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without her. I am so lucky to have a mom who loves and cares for me. Nothing can compare to the amount of love a mother has for her children. My mother is the reason I am who I am today.
As Abraham Lincoln once said, “All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my mother.”
Lauretta Piesko, 13
Piney Oak Shores

My mom’s name is Diana, and my mom is the best mom in the world, because she does everything and anything for me. When I am sick, she stays with me and takes care of me, even when she gets sick herself. My mom will let me have the last hot dog, even when I know she is hungry and has not eaten. She roots for me and is my biggest cheerleader, even when I do not run so fast. When I have nightmares, she stays up to keep the monsters away, even if she is tired. She is at every play and makes the best cookies in my class. She goes with me on my school trips and rides all the scary rides with me, even though she turns green on them. When I am sad, she makes me laugh with a fart joke. She is funny, courageous, sweet and kind. She is a great chef and cooks for us every day. She can make the ickiest stuff taste great! She has taught us to care and be respectful of others. She loves me and my brother and sister the same, even though I am her best child.
When I grow up, I want to be just like her. I can count on my mom always being there for me, and that makes her the very best mom in the world.
Matthew Conde, 10
Dr. Phillips

My mom is hardworking. No other person works as hard as my mom. She works every day. Most days I don’t even get to talk to her. Other days, when she is home, we have fun together.
My mom is fun, because she takes me and my family to many different places all the time. She also does fun things with me and my friends. She sometimes brings us to Disney and Universal.
Equally important, my mom is positive. My mom is positive, because one time, we were at the beach, and it started getting windy. Sand blew into my eyes, and she was positive it would stop. Another time, there was a tornado warning. My brother, friend and I were scared, but my mom said to calm down. Instead of being scared, she was positive it would not hit.
My mom is the best in many ways.
Rylan Ardnt, 8
Windermere Chase

I do not need to convince anyone that my mom is the best mom. I know that out of every single mom there is, my mom is the best. She does not have superpowers, but what she has done for my sisters and me takes just as much strength an any superhero.
My mom raised us for many years as a single mom. She left the house early in the morning and came home late in the afternoon, but somehow found time to cook dinner and spend time with us. She made sure our childhood was carefree and full of many adventures.
After the birth of my little brother, who has Down syndrome, I have never doubted that my mom is the best in the world. Down syndrome slows a number of stages in development and can have other health effects. My mom has shown patience for every delay my brother has. She shows the same amount of love to each one of us. Even though she is busy raising four kids, she advocates for children in foreign countries who have no families and no one to turn to. My mother inspires me to be kind and care for every person regardless of any labels.
Rebekah Asquino, 15

My mom is the best, because she is loving. She helps me when I am sad, and she helps me to feel happy. When I am hurt, she makes me feel better. She loves each and every one. My mom has a big heart.
My mom is fun, because she goes to the skate park with me. She is fun, because she goes to fun places with our family. We love Disney, skate parks, water parks and Scooterville, Georgia. One thing is true about my mom and that is that she does her best to make life fun for all of us.
My mom is positive. She is positive, because when our money was down, she made everything better. My mom is the best, because when I am in the hospital, she makes me feel better. For example, I was skateboarding at my school. I hit a crack in the sidewalk and fell down. I broke my wrist. My mom thought it did not break, but my dad took me to the hospital anyway. To be honest, I was happy, because I did not think I would have to go to school. I was wrong, and my parents sent me.
In conclusion, my mom is the best. She is loving, fun and positive!
Colin Harden, 9

My mom is the best mom in the Southwest community, because we have family time. When we have family time, she plays games with me, and we watch TV. She gives me kisses and hugs. She reads books to me. I like how she is. She works hard for me. My mom loves me.
Chloe Perdigao, 7

She is the best mom in the world, because she’s my mom, and she is hardworking, caring, brave and accepts me as I am. She is my idol and role model. I love her so much, and I don’t know what I would do without her. She cheers me up when I’m sad or when I have a bad day. Sure, we have our fights and discussions, but in the end, we still love each other. She is too amazing for 250 words.
My mom is, for sure, caring and loving. When I get sick and I’m down, my mom cheers me up. She feeds me, my dad and sister every day. She helps me with everything and tells me she loves me every day. She always listens when I tell her how my day went.
She accepts me as I am and is brave, because she lets me do what I truly love. She loves it when I try new things. She lets me try out for anything I want to try out for. If I don’t make the team, she says, “Practice makes perfect!” I just love her so much.
In conclusion, my mom is my hero and the best mom in the whole wide world. I love her so much it is immeasurable. If my essay doesn’t win this contest, maybe I didn’t write enough. But, I will always know my mom is the best there is.
Irene Obrador, 11

Everybody has a different meaning about what their mother means to them, but in reality, they all want the same thing for their children: happiness. Mothers are here to serve one very special purpose: to love and care for their children. On the inside, mothers are beautiful, and they have the biggest hearts. Mothers would do anything for their children.
My mom is the best, because she is there for me. She helps me whenever I need it. I am always trying to help her in return. She also drives me to my many activities, and most of my games are far away. My mom listens to me. She has been there for me whenever I’ve needed her. She has been with me through the highs and lows. She would do anything for me. I really appreciate that.
My mom is supportive of what I do. She always tells me that I am a champion, even when I am feeling down. My mom encourages me to be the best person I can be. She believes in me even when I don’t. My mom would follow me to the ends of the Earth and back. I truly appreciate everything she does.
My mom would do anything for me. She loves me for who I am and is always there for me. My mom is the best human being I have ever met, and I wouldn’t change her for the world.
Erika Zavaleta, 12
Winter Garden

I think my mom is the best mom, because she hugs and kisses me every day. One time she told me that she liked how I ate all my dinner, so she gave me some jelly beans. She loves me so much that she even let me take ballet lessons so that I could become a ballet dancer one day.
I love my dear mom, and she loves me, too. I love her so much that I could give her a cuddle. One day, I would like to paint my toenails just like my mom. She taught me how to knit and sew. I hope that I grow up to be just like my mama.
Chloe Gutierrez, 5
Dr. Phillips

My mother has a heart like no one else. She is the most caring, whole-hearted person I’ve ever known. I have many memories with my mom. My mom is willing to help me with any challenge I have. She is the most hardworking woman ever.
With her many personalities, my mom is very supportive and helpful with all I do. She supports me even when I’m sad. In frustration, she loves me under any condition and circumstance. I know my mom loves me more than anything. I know she loves me more than all the waters that fill the Earth.
Above all, she has a never-ending love for me. What is the definition of never-ending love? Is it love that lasts forever? When I think of my mom, love pours into my heart and fills me with uncontainable joy. My mom will never abandon me for anything or anyone. Her personality shines its way into my heart.
The personalities of my mom burn as brightly as the sun. Her kind heart, support and love bring life and character into my life. In the end, her never-ending love will extend forever and never be contained.
Nate Griffon, 12

Do you remember in kindergarten when everyone asked you who your favorite superhero is — Batman, Spider-Man, my mom? I know it’s true that my mom cannot pick up a house, she can’t run 5 miles in 1 second, but she does things that superheroes wish they could do.
To begin with, my mom is hardworking. She works 10 hours a week and still gets me to soccer practice on time. Also, my mom has to work hard at night, but she still cooks us our favorite dinner.
To add more fuel to the fire, my mom is so supportive. If you have ever been to a soccer game, you know my mom is the loudest person cheering there. My mom is most likely to be the most supportive mom in the world. If I get a bad grade, my mom doesn’t get mad at me. She just motivates me to work a little harder and check my work. Also, if I keep failing at scoring in soccer, my mom pushes me harder.
So, the next time someone asks who your favorite superhero is and who’s the best mom in Southwest, you are sure to say my mom. I love you!
Sydney Jackson, 9
Winter Garden

My mom is the best, because she is caring, kind and if my mom wasn’t alive, I wouldn’t be here. She works at home, so I’m safe and always will be. Her cooking is great, and she treats me like I’m her puppy. Her job is to design clothes, and I’m her little model.
She loves ice cream. When she eats it, she says, “Yum, yum, yum!” She is special. Her hair is sparkly brown, and she treats me very nice when I’m feeling down. I’m very special to her, and she’s the same to me. I love her voice. She sounds like
music to my ears.
Her style is pretty, because she loves wearing dresses. She makes the best outfits for me to wear. I feel warm and safe next to her, just like a stuffed animal.
Ksenia Ebenhack, 8

To me, my mom is like no other. She is not only my mom but my role model. My mom is extremely strong, caring and kind. She is beautiful inside and out. My mom does many things, not only for me but also for my dad and two sisters. Whenever one of us is having a rough time or bad day, she picks us back up and helps us push through it.
When my aunt became sick, my mom was by her side every step of the way. She encouraged her every day to do the best she could to strive to do more day after day. She rejoiced in the good times and pushed through the bad ones.
Every day, she makes sure we have everything for school and every practice my sister and I have. After school, she asks how our day was and what tests and projects we have coming up. She listens patiently to what we have to say and gives us advice for any problems we have.
When my friends say, “Your mom is so nice,” or “I love your mom. She is like my second mom,” I take full pride and joy in how amazing she is. She understands that I make mistakes, and she loves me the way I am. There are not enough words to describe how wonderful she is, not only to me, but also to my friends and family. She truly is more than just my mom.
Stephanie Mitchell, 13
Stoneybrook West

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. ~ Proverbs 31.20.
Mothers are important in life, because they influence you. Even though you sometimes get irritated with your mom, remember she loves you.
My mom is very hardworking. One way is she has to buy food for my family. She is always cleaning our house to keep it clean. If we didn’t have a clean house, we would lose stuff and never find it. Finally, she is part-owner of an ice cream shop. She is always there to keep it in business and get everything the shop needs. I know that in everything she does, she tries her hardest to succeed.
If you want kind, go to my mom! My mom is ready to help in every case. She is there for me in rough times to make me feel better. I feel safe around her, almost like my house travels with her. I can trust her to influence me to do good things for the world.
Overall, I need my mom, and I am so lucky I have her. I know she loves me to the moon and back. I know she is going to help me get places in life and will help me exceed in everything I do. If I could grade her 1-10, she would get a 100!
Brooke Allen, 12

I love my mom to the moon and back. My mom is the best in so many ways.
One way my mom is the best is she is so godly. She encourages me to pray more. She also tries to help me have a better relationship with God. If I’m going through a hard time, I go to her for advice in Christ. She inspires me to worship in a way I’ve never done before.
Another way is she makes me laugh. She makes funny jokes that are so weird. She just has to say one word, and I die in laughter. She is corny and knows old jokes.
The last way she is the best is she feeds me healthy food, because she cares. She wants my health to be OK. Sometimes I may not like it, but I know it is going to help me later in life. She can also bake the best cakes out of exotic ingredients.
In conclusion, my mom is the best and means the world to me.
Jaiden Pierson, 11
Winter Garden

Abraham Lincoln once said, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
Mothers are the center of our everyday lives, they are the glue that holds us together, the heroes that save us in times of distress, and the cupids that make sure we are loved. Moms are constantly making sacrifices to benefit our lives and some of them rarely receive a thank-you.
My mom, Deb Irmscher, is my best friend. It is no easy task to take care of three irritating teenagers, but she makes it seem like nothing. She is constantly pushing me toward my dreams and is always the loudest when I achieve my goals.
She takes us to our practices, attends our games and makes sure we are headed in the right direction. Not only does she take care of our family, but she also runs the merchandise at Bishop Moore and Holy Family, plays on the Keene’s Pointe tennis team, and takes care of our two cats that are attention-savvy. With my sister going to college and my dad traveling, my mom has a handful on her plate, but she makes it work. Personally, I believe Mother’s Day is not enough, and we should take time to sincerely thank our moms. I am very lucky to have a mother like her, and my life would not be the same without her.
Ben Irmscher, 13
Keene’s Pointe

There are several reasons why my mom is the best, and one reason is that she is protecting. Two days after school started this year, something very scary happened at our apartment complex. Our neighbor was hurt badly, and my mommy came to check on us to make sure we were safe. She never left our sides even though there was a lot going on at the time. She even let my brothers and I sleep in the room with her and Daddy, because we were scared to sleep in our own rooms.
Another reason my mom is the best is because of her perseverance. My mom works full time, goes to graduate school full time, and still manages to clean the house, take care of us and Daddy, and cook delicious meals, all while doing her homework for school.  She gets tired sometimes, but she never complains, and she is always there for us when we need her. My mom helps us with our homework and makes sure we know how important having an education is, and that is why we love her so much. My mom is very intelligent, too. She makes good grades; she is a straight-A student. She got inducted into the International Honor Society while she was earning her master degree. There are several reasons that my mom is the best mom ever, but the No. 1 reason is because she loves us.
Taylor O’Neal, 9
Advenir at The Oaks

On the website, the word “mom” means “the woman who loves you so much and puts you before herself.” This is true but my mom is more than that. My mom does everything for me, and I really appreciate it!
My mom has two kids — my brother, Pedro (18), and myself (11). We can be a handful, but my mom loves us. My mom helps us with everything for us to be happy. She helps us with our homework, but unfortunately, doesn’t do it. My mom is a really busy person, but no matter what, she makes time for my brother and me, or just myself, because I guess when you’re 18, you want to just be with your second family (your friends).
My mom wants me to be the best I can be. She comes from Quito, Ecuador, where Spanish is spoken. My mom taught me how to speak Spanish. She always tells me that it will help me in the future, and I believe it’s true. During summer break, Mom makes me practice reading and math, so the next year I can comprehend the subjects.
To sum it up, my mom is the best mom out there, and I appreciate what she does for me.
Nicole Johnson, 11
Lake Fischer Estates

My mom is the best, because she is unselfish. She is the one person that is not selfish. Instead of buying things for herself, my mother likes to buy things for us and those around us. She is always sending donations for my class, and this helps motivate us.
My mom is fun. She always takes me somewhere fun. One time, she took me bowling, and I won! It was a blast. We have fun wherever we go. When we went to the beach, she played with us in the water. She also helped us dig a hole in the sand. In Tampa, I stayed up so late, my dad fell asleep before me.
Most importantly, my mom is caring. When I get hurt, my mom helps me. One day, I crashed on my bike. She helped clean my bruise. Also, she helps me with my homework. She also helps with my computer work.
Jacob Skelin, 8
Meadow Ridge

My mom is the best mom in Southwest, because she provides me with my everyday needs and benefits. She cooks me excellent meals every day. She pays the bills, so we can have a roof over our heads. She also gets me to school on time every morning.
My mom is the best mom in Southwest because of her personality. She is kind, loyal, sweet, brave and smart. She would help anyone if they were in need. When I’m scared at night, she helps me calm down. She protects me and would even fight for me if I was in need.
My mom is the best mom in Southwest, because she always has been there to support and encourage me. Whenever I feel like giving up, my mom tells me that I can do it. She helps me do things I think I can’t do.
Kayla Kunstorf, 11

My amazing mother is many things. To me she is my mom, but to others she is that friend who always cares. She takes care of her lovely family, helps me with homework and softball, and her heart is full of gold. I love her to death and this is what my amazing mother is …
She always helps me if I don’t know something. She takes her time and is patient with me while going over or doing homework. She loves when I come home from school with something new and teach it to her. She also is always proud of me.
She could just let someone else bring me to my two-hour-long softball practice, but no. She not only drives me but watches me those whole two hours. Not to mention, she is there to pick up my confidence. If I do something wrong, she is the first one to say, “It’s OK. You will get it next time.” She is also prepared. She knows exactly what I need, even if it’s snacks; ice packs; extra water; my cleats, which I forget a lot; or even the simplest hug. She already knows.
Her heart is golden. She forgives me whenever I mess up or do something amazingly stupid. She is so patient. I can be completely angry at her, and she will let me explain my point, then proceed to tell me the reason I’m wrong in the kindest way possible, then we discuss. Once you think she can’t love you anymore, she ends up having more than enough.
She is not only my mother, she’s my sunshine.
Campbell Romero, 12
Dr. Phillips

My mom is the best mom in the Southwest community. My mom loves me. She buys me Legos, and she makes me good food. She gives me hugs. I like her hair. She takes me places. I like her clothes. I like my mom.
Aiden Berrada, 7

My mom is the best, most amazing mom in the world! Every time that I fell when I was a baby, she was there to help me. When I didn’t know words, she taught me.
I remember one time, we didn’t have a car. My mom didn’t complain about it. She just took the bicycle and went to my kindergarten, and when I came home from school, she taught me how to write words. I am grateful for all the effort she puts into our lives.
My mom helps me with every single thing in my life. One time I was sick, and she and my dad carried me to the bus stop. We took the bus to the hospital, and she stayed by my side. There was water inside my lungs. My loving mom stayed days, nights and even weeks waiting for me to recover, because I couldn’t even walk. Everyone in my school was worried, even the teacher came to the hospital to visit.
After I returned to school, a lot of time had passed, and there were many assignments I had to make up. My mom took her own time to help me complete the work, because she knew how difficult and important my schoolwork was for me.
My mom continues to give my life meaning, happiness and joy. Sometimes we laugh about funny jokes that we make up. It’s her kindness and protectiveness that make me know why I love my mom, because she is the best.
Peter Gaudencio, 11
Twelve Oaks

Many moms are wonderful, but only one is the best, and that mom is mine! First of all, I know my mom is the best, because she is thoughtful. She is thoughtful, because she buys my family food to eat.
I know my mom is the best, because she is loving. She reads me stories at night before I fall asleep.
My mom is the best mom ever, because she is caring. She snuggles with me when I am scared.
Allison Lyons, 8

In my life, do you know the person who gave life to me was my mom? You may wonder how that is special to me. Well, my mom has taught me life skills so I can have an excellent attitude. In school, I am also very good, and that is because of my mom (although I also thank my dad for a lot of things as well).
My mom entertains my family. She listens to me and understands me, although I talk a lot. Our favorite game is the laughing challenge. She loves me and my family. Also, she is so cool, because she helps run two, not one, but two, restaurants. She cooks the best food. My mom is as pretty as a daisy and as catchy as chocolate.
Every time I am upset or angry, my mom helps me the most. My mom is royal, active, nice, joyful, alert and neat. My momma is as sweet as a butterfly flying. The last thing I love about my mom is she wakes me up and sends me to sleep with a sweet smile.
Ambika Chottani, 10

The staff of the Southwest Orlando Bulletin extends special thanks to the following schools that participated in the 26th annual Best Mom in Southwest contest: Bay Meadows, Dr. Phillips, Lake Whitney, MetroWest, Palm Lake, Thornebrooke and Whispering Oak elementary schools; Southwest Middle School; Holy Family Catholic School; Windy Ridge School; Premier Academy and The First Academy.

Editor’s note: Entries may have been edited for grammar, punctuation, length and content. To pay tribute to as many “Best Moms” as possible, School News, Sports and In Your
Neighborhood do not appear in this issue.       ♥

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