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Roslyn Students Know Their Presidents

Harbor Hills Scholars Win Top Prizes in Essay Contest

Last week, The Roslyn News reported on the success of Jordan Bernstein, the Harbor Hills School fourth-grader who was awarded first place in the Raynham Hall Annual Presidents’ Day writing contest. Bernstein won for his essay on James Polk, one entitled, “The Incredible Polk.”

Jordan wasn’t the only local student to excel in the annual contest. In fact, students from Harbor Hills swept the boards in the grades 4-6 category. Jordan won first place. In addition, second place went to Tommy Drenis with an entry on Franklin D. Roosevelt; and the third place prize went to Helayne Drell with an entry on Abraham Lincoln. The three honorable mentions went to Michael Fried, Evan Jaslow, and Sam Kaplan, all from Harbor Hills.

The awards ceremonies for the Great Presidents Contest, hosted by The Friends of Raynham Hall, took place in Oyster Bay on Feb. 25.

In all, over 180 students from schools all over Nassau County took part in the writing contest. Up to 23 of the 44 Presidents of the United States were represented. They included such familiar ones as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt, to those fading from memory, such as William Howard Taft and James Polk to more recent chief executives as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan and not surprisingly, to Oyster Bay’s favorite son, the prolific Theodore Roosevelt.

In choosing the winners, Stephen Waldenburg, Raynham Hall’s Interim Education Coordinator, was assisted by Bette Koligs, a representative from the Daughters of the American Revolution, and Pam Martocci and John Bonifacio, board members of the Education Committee. In the end, three winners were chosen from grades 2-3 and three more from grades 4-6, with three honorable mentions for each group.

In grades 2-3, first place went to Maggie McNamara from James H. Vernon Elementary with an entry on Abraham Lincoln; second place went to James Grassi from James H. Vernon Elementary with an essay on Franklin D. Roosevelt; and the third place prize went to Sabrina Scalzo from Ocean Avenue School who wrote about Thomas Jefferson. The three honorable mentions went to Vincent Alesi, from Locust Valley Intermediate; Gus Girardi, from James H. Vernon School; and Nick Harvey, from Norwood Avenue Elementary.

The Friends of Raynham Hall were pleased with the enthusiasm shown by all the students who participated in this year’s contest. They also would like to encourage students to keep an eye out for next years contest and for similar programs being held this summer. Special thanks also go to Bette Koligs and the Daughters of the American Revolution for their generous gift donations to the contest winners; Kieran Shea and the BayKery Café for their donation of baked goods as prizes; and Eva Regulski and Not Just Art for their donation of gift certificates.