a group of people standing next to each other
Jewelry contest winner Mariana Ruiz, third-grade student at Treasure Village Montessori, designed a blue necklace for her mom, Ellie, pictured middle. CONTRIBUTED

Three lucky Keys moms received a surprise ahead of Mother’s Day – custom-made jewelry designed by their sons and daughters. More than 300 students, from Key Largo to Key West, entered their jewelry designs during Blue Marlin Jewelry’s ninth annual Saige Raiche Memorial Junior Designer Mother’s Day Contest. The team at Blue Marlin, located at 81549 Old Highway in Islamorada, reviewed the first round and whittled the finalists to 10. From there, the submissions were sent to a fresh team of judges, non-Blue Marlin employees, to pick winners in grades K-3, 4-7 and 8-12. Winners were Vera Rodger, a Key West junior who designed a ring named “The Flow of Family”; Treasure Village Montessori third-grader Mariana Ruiz, who designed a blue necklace; and Treasure Village Montessori seventh-grader Parker Hyndman, who designed a necklace called “Goddess of Serpentine.”

a group of people standing next to each other
Jewelry contest winner Mariana Ruiz, third-grade student at Treasure Village Montessori, designed a blue necklace for her mom, Ellie, pictured middle. CONTRIBUTED
a group of people standing in front of a table
Key West junior Vera Rodger with family upon winning the Blue Marlin jewelry contest. Her mom was presented with a ring her daughter designed called ‘The Flow of Family.’ CONTRIBUTED

Jim McCarthy
Jim McCarthy is one of the many who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures in Western New York. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 5-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club. When he's not working, he's busy chasing his son, Lucas, around the house and enjoying time with family.