Twenty-six aspiring young writers were honored for their creative efforts at the Bay Ridge Community Council’s 42nd annual essay contest.
The deserving award recipients included fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from schools throughout the borough. The ceremony was held on Tuesday, May 28 at I.S. 259 William McKinley, 7301 Fort Hamilton Parkway.
President of the BRCC Ralph Succar hosted the event that brought together an auditorium full of proud families to share in their children’s accomplishments.
The essay co-chairs were Linda Rubino and Madeline Sbarra.
“This is actually one of my favorite evenings where we actually celebrate our children’s excellence. It’s all about academics and how hard you work,” said Succar. “Hard work pays off. I’m very proud of every one of you and you should be very proud of yourselves.”
The Bay Ridge Community Council has been active for 68 years and along with the essay contest they host a number of other activities including a Halloween window painting contest, food drives for the hungry, and a hidden treasures ceremony that recognizes individuals who have worked behind the scenes to support the community.
Rubino thanked this year’s sponsors including Investors Bank, the Sbarra Family, the Bookmark Shoppe, Empire State Development, LLC and the Rotary Club of Verrazano.
Along with a plaque, Rubino explained that each first place winner would receive a $50 Visa gift card, second place winners a $25 Visa gift card and third place winners a $25 gift card to the Bookmark Shoppe.
Each grade had a specific topic to write about and the winning entries were selected by a group of 11 judges.
For the fifth grade, the first place winner was Julia Lis from P.S.102. Second place went to Samantha Pinto from St. Bernadette Catholic Academy and third place was given to Danielle DelleCave from Holy Angels Catholic Academy.
Other fifth grade award recipients were Crystal Kong of P.S. 69, Jesse Aja-Sigmon of P.S. 127, Hannah Shih of P.S. 170, Fanny Zhong of P.S. 176, Max Mora of P.S. 185, Mohamed Mugrabi of P.S. 264, Sevetlana Nasimov of Adelphi Academy and Noah Abbas of P.S./I.S. 104.
“I wrote about conserving energy and how important it is to turn off the lights because it would help conserve energy across the whole country and that’s so important,” said Abbas. “I’m just glad that my voice is being heard,” he added.
Taking first place for grade six was Haneen Abouelker from I.S. 259. Second place was given to Adam Lyun of I.S. 201 and third place went to Laila Isa of P.S./I.S. 104. Luke Dembinski from Holy Angels Catholic Academy was also recognized for his essay.
The seventh grade first-place winner was Coleyi Chen from I.S. 259. Second place went to Sandy Chen of P.S./I.S 104 and third place was awarded to Eva Savidis of I.S. 201. Other seventh grade recipients were Nicholas Cheregotis from Adelphi Academy and Nadia Aquino from Holy Angels Catholic Academy.
Isabella Zito of St. Bernadette Catholic Academy took first place honors for the eighth grade. Second place went to Kaitlyn Locano of I.S. 259 and third place was given to Aliz Balaz of Holy Angels Catholic Academy. The other eighth grade award recipients were Mohamed Khalifa of P.S. / I.S. 104, Nurdaulet Kaishibayev of I.S. 201 and Timothy Chirkov of Adelphi Academy.
First place winner Zito said she was looking forward to attending Xaverian High School in the fall.
“Well, I’m really excited that I won,” Zito told this paper. “Last year I volunteered here and I’ve been trying to win since sixth grade, when I first heard about this contest. I’m really happy because this was the last chance I had and I finally won.”