There were several standout entries amid the more than 200 submissions for the Journal-World's Mother's Day essay contests.
Mothers, stepmothers and grandmothers drew praise for their patience, their great advice, their superb suppers and their homework help. But when we selected the elementary and secondary school division winners, we realized the two mothers had something in common: Both began their families at unusually young ages.
Tasha Rose Keathley-Helms started her family at age 21. She's mother to Liliana and Ella, both 6, and Jack, 3. She's a doctoral student in political science at Kansas University, and has traveled to Africa to work on her studies and build houses with Habitat for Humanity.
Kama Fernandez was 19 when she had Melanie McCain, 15, and has balanced raising a daughter solo and working two jobs as a nurse at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.