Meet the front runner for 2007's Mother Of The Year, Priscilla Ceballos
Everything was going fine for Priscilla, and her 6-year-old daughter Alexis, Friday morning. Alexis had won an essay contest at Club Libby Lu - a nationwide clothing store - winning an in-store Hannah Montana makeover and, more importantly, four tickets (plus airfare and lodging) the Jan. 9 Hannah Montana in Albany, N.Y.. Here's the essay in its entirety:
"My daddy died this year in Iraq. I am going to give mommy the Angel pendant that daddy put on mommy when she was having me. I had it in my jewelry box since that day. I love my mommy."
It's easy to see how the company could pick the girl's entry. Priscilla's problems started when WFAA reporter Bryon Harris looked into the story of the fallen father. It turns out that Army Sgt. Jonathon Menjivar of Garland, TX didn't die in Iraq, and there's not even a soldier by that name. Harris confronted Priscilla in the store as she was claiming her daughter's prize and it's been all downhill for her and her daughter since.
The Dallas Morning News said that Club Libby Lu was still planning to honor the girl's prize, but later reports have the company considering taking the prize away. Finally a Dallas station interviewed Ceballos who claims they never represented it as true and that it was like a creative writing essay...
The answer, of course, is easy. Club Libby Lu should take those tickets and give them to the daughter of the family of the nearest military casualty. Perhaps the blogosphere, with a little research, can point the company in the direction of suitable candidates.
A woman apologized Friday for a “bad decision” in helping her 6-year-old daughter win tickets to a Hannah Montana concert with an essay that falsely claimed the girl’s father died in Iraq.
Priscilla Ceballos said she hadn’t intended to mislead the contest sponsor but got caught up in helping her daughter “realize her dream of seeing Hannah Montana.”
“Instead I brought so much negative attention to my family,” Ceballos said, reading a statement on NBC’s “Today” show. “Please accept my heartfelt apology and please do not punish my child for my mistake.”
Ceballos apologized specifically to the military and military families for falsely claiming the girl’s father died in a roadside bombing in Iraq.
“I just wanted to help my daughter write a compelling story,” she said. “There is no more compelling story than the struggle and sacrifices of our military and their families.”
Officials with Chicago-based chain Club Libby Lu surprised the girl with the tickets and a makeover Dec. 28 at a store in a suburban Dallas mall. Club Libby Lu sells clothes, accessories and games for young girls.
The essay won her the grand prize: airfare for four to Albany, N.Y., and four tickets to the sold-out Hannah Montana concert Jan. 9. The opening line in the essay was: “My daddy died this year in Iraq.”
Ceballos admitted later in the day to store officials that the essay and the military information she provided about her daughter’s father were untrue.
Club Libby Lu withdrew the prize the next day and awarded it to another unnamed contestant.
“I meant no disrespect,” Ceballos said on the “Today” show. “I just made a bad decision which I sincerely regret.”