This past month, the Bay Ridge Community Council hosted its 40th Annual Essay Contest which recognizes the essays of student scribes in grades fifth through eighth.
The annual contest — open to students in public, private and parochial schools throughout District 20 — celebrated with an extra surprise this year – a visit from Bay Ridge native Gabriel Gale, creator of new book series, Ages of Oz who once participated in this same contest.
Tiffany Roqueta from P.S. 127 took first place for fifth grade followed by Gregory Caldara from P.S./I.S. 104 in second place. Sixth grade winners included Lauren Polito from St. Patrick Catholic Academy in first place and Johnathan Bernadeau from St. Bernadette Catholic Academy in second. Gianna Scuteri from St. Bernadette Catholic Academy took first place for the seventh grade division and Karissa Nieves from I.S.201 took second place. Lastly, eighth grade first place went to Saad Ghaffouli from P.S./I.S. 104 and second place went to Crystal Secaira from I.S. 201.
All selected essay writers received a plaque and a copy of the first volume of Ages of Oz. First place winners in addition got to take home a $50 Visa gift card and second place winners also won a $25 bookstore gift card.
Winners, who wrote essays in response to prompts decided in January by the Bay Ridge Community Council, are chosen through two rounds of judging. Their essays are selected by the principals of their schools who send the three best to the committee. Those three are then coded to be anonymous and sent to community judges who grade them. The essays with the highest score in each grade win.
The awards were presented during BRCC’s May 23 meeting, held at McKinley Intermediate School, 7301 Fort Hamilton Parkway.