Weekly Feature

2010-03-25 / Education

‘Freedom in America’ essay finalists announced

Five Depew Middle School writers have been named as essay finalists in the “Freedom in America” contest sponsored by the Lancaster-Depew Sertoma Club.

Essay finalists include Nicole Becker, eighth-grader and a 2009 finalist; Matthew Nichy, eighth-grader; and seventh-graders Hannah Koteras, Jacob Bleasdale and William Eddy.

The finalists will present their essays orally Friday, March 26, before a panel of judges who will choose the top three essays.

The contest was open to seventh- and eighth-graders who submitted essays and/or posters on the theme, “Freedom in America.” The poster competition finalists will be announced Friday, March 26, during a school assembly. Joseph Pagano, Depew Middle School art teacher, coordinates the poster portion of the contest.

Sertoma, which comes from the phrase “service to mankind,” is an organization that espouses civics, academic achievement and productive values in students as well as the community. The Depew-Lancaster chapter is involved in the community and has supplied more than $25,000 in prizes for the contest during the past 38 years. First-, second- and third-place essay and poster winners receive cash prizes and plaques.

Salvatore Carlino, a seventh-grade social studies teacher and coordinator of the Sertoma contest, has been practicing with the five essay finalists on the high school stage to hone their delivery and get them used to the sights and sounds they can expect during their oral presentations before judges.

In the past, the contest winners presented their work during a Depew Board of Education meeting, Depew and Lancaster board meetings, and an Erie County Legislature meeting, and Carlino hopes the students will have the opportunity to present again this year.

“We always look forward to the creative work done by the fine young writers and artists in our middle school,” Carlino said. “Through the students’ presentations at various board meetings, their creativity, insight and patriotism will be on display for our entire community to enjoy.”

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