Westland’s Arizmendi-Rivera named 2023 OELMA ReadOn! Ohio Award winner

Westland High School (WHS) senior Yhozuany “Josse” Arizmendi-Rivera has been named the recipient of the ‘2023 Ohio Educational Library Media Association’s (OELMA) ReadOn! Ohio Award.’

Annually, OELMA, Ohio’s professional association for grade K-12 school libraries, recognizes enthusiastic readers nominated by school and public libraries in primary grades (K-3), intermediate grades (3-5), middle grades (6-8), and upper grades (9-12) by state region.

Arizmendi-Rivera was nominated by WHS librarian Kristin Jonsson as a result of her passion for reading, ERC volunteerism, and mentorship displayed to other students sharing her library knowledge.

“The great thing about Josse is she is hardworking and kind,” said Kristin Jonsson, WHS librarian, who nominated Josse for the award. “She’s the kind of kid who treats people so well, she will make an impact and will always be putting something good into the world.”

In her nomination letter, Jonsson described how a love of reading and helping others led her to believe Josse embodied what it meant to win the award.

“I first met [Arizmendi-Rivera] during the 2021-2022 school year where she was a frequent visitor to the library..” said Jonsson. “At the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, [she] came to me and asked if she could help out daily in the library, as an official library helper.  From the beginning, she was an amazing addition to the library.  She is self-motivated and willing to take on new and challenging tasks. She often helps me plan displays and she is a great student to brainstorm ideas with….Partway into the school year, another student was placed in the library during the same period as [Josse].  With complete kindness and compassion, she took this younger student under her wing and taught them everything she knew about the library.  She made the new student feel welcome and comfortable, and continues to be a supportive mentor.”

“[Arizmendi-Rivera] works to embrace the challenges of the unknown and explores her own curiosity,” said her English teacher Kerri Tramontana.

“I was so genuinely shocked when I found out about being named the winner of this award,” said Arizmendi-Rivera. “It makes me really happy that I received this award, and that I accomplished something grand.”

In terms of future plans, this May, Josse received news that she had received a full tuition scholarship to attend Otterbein University. When she sets foot on campus this fall, she will officially be the first in her family to attend college and she will begin her studies to earn a bachelor’s degree in dentistry with future plans to pursue being a dental hygienist.

Arizmendi-Rivera will be recognized at the 8th annual award ceremony for the ReadOn! Ohio Award at the OELMA conference slated to be held later this fall.

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