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Glen Cove Celebrates ‘Best Community for Youth’

City’s national designation as one of the top 100 communities for youth culminates in a party for the kids

After being selected, last fall, as one of the top 100 communities for young people, the City of Glen Cove held a celebration honoring those youth at the Finley Middle School cafeteria last week. The party drew a crowd of students, parents, siblings, teachers and members of local government and organizations.

The kids enjoyed themselves eating pizza and painting their faces prior to the award ceremony. The Glen Cove High School production studio created a video highlighting all that the city has to offer, which played right before the awards ceremony. Awards were presented to the children by Mayor Ralph V. Suozzi and Deputy Mayor Maureen Basdavanos, and citations were given to the city by Mayor Bruce Kennedy on behalf of the Village of Sea Cliff, by Delia DeRiggi-Whitton and by Assemblyman Charles Lavine, congratulating the city for achieving this status.

DeRiggi-Whitton said, “I am so proud of Glen Cove. Representing the area first as a city councilwoman and now a county legislator, I fully agree that this city deserves such an honor. The great schools, the police, the Boys & Girls Club and the Youth Bureau, as well as the city council, have all worked hard to earn this distinction.”

To win the awards, the children submitted artwork, essays, poetry and photograph entries through their schools and were judged by a committee of volunteers. For the Youth Who Makes a Difference Award, the committee sent letters to local clergy, school principals and other community leaders asking for recommendations of children who they felt “went above and beyond doing things for the community and being good, upstanding citizens,” according to Basdavanos. She said they received close to 30 nominations, and felt they really needed to recognize all who were nominated for the good work that they do.

Amanda Ieraci won the Youth Who Makes a Difference Award, while Maleesha Ebanks, Alexandra Franklin and Brendan Rogers all received an Honorable Mention. The other nominees included Matthew Grabowski, Kewan Beebe, Yadiyah Letellier, Matthew Bellomo, Alexandra Franklin, Yaqarah Letellier, Monica Juarez-Barnes, Ariana Cavallone, Alexandra Gerin, Daniel Lynch, Erick Pajuelo, Nicole Alexander, Christine Adams, A.J. Perfetti, Maria Krisch, Grace Blinkoff, Essence Fowler and Linesha Davis.

For the Essays and Poetry Award, Colleen Coelho won for the kindergarten through 2nd-grade age group, Chloe Ventura for 3rd- through 5th-grade, Jessica Stengler for 6th- to 8th-grade and Elena D’Ambrosio for 9th- to 12th-grade. Andrew Vela won the Multimedia Award while Alexandra Gerin received an Honorable Mention, and in the Art category, Brandon Carmona won kindergarten through 2nd-grade, Lauren Retoske won the 3rd- through 5th-grade award, Joseph Yee won for 6th- to 8th-grade and Jennifer Cruz won for 9th- to 12th-grade.

“We had a wonderful turnout and [it] really was an example of why we won this award because the community does come together – so many businesses and organizations donated their time and services, and it is a credit to the way that everyone gives their support.”

Last fall, Glen Cove received national recognition as one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING for its initiatives to help the youth of the city. Glen Cove was the only community on Long Island that received the award last year and won it because of its holistic approach to educating students and innovative programs that encourage involvement of young people in the community. The recognition entitles the city to a $2,500 grant and access to America’s Promise Alliance’s community development resources.

“Glen Cove represents a mosaic of this miracle of a place called America,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph A. Laria. “So we congratulate you all who made this happen; we’re very proud to be partners for the good of the children and the good of the community.”