Varacalli Day 2014 Essay Contest Winners Announced

The Antonio Varacalli Day – A Celebration of Heroes committee today announced the winners of its first essay competition, “My Hero”. In this pilot year, the contest garnered nearly 100 essays, which were judged by a panel of Antonio Varacalli Day committee members. The contest asked students in the 3rd, 4th & 5th grades from Elizabeth Cady Stanton Elementary School in Seneca Falls to write about their heroes. The students were encouraged to think about what Antonio Varacalli, the Italian immigrant who lost his life while trying to save a drowning woman in the SeneCayuga Canal in 1917, did for a stranger and see who they might compare him to in their own lives. Prizes will be awarded at the Seneca Falls Community Center after the Bridge Street – Antonio Varacalli Day1:00 pm ceremony. “All of the essays we received were thoughtful, creative, and honest” said Becky Bly, one of the committee members, “Many times the students wrote of their being grateful for the gifts of love and friendship they saw in their heroes, with family members often the object of their essays”. Three winning essays were chosen for each grade with many honorable mentions given as well. First Place • 3rd grade – Liam Anderson Teacher – Stephanie Bertino • 4th grade – Cassidy Adams Teacher – Michele Marconi • 5th grade – Jocelyn Mansell Teacher – Cathy HarrisSecond Place • 3rd grade – Vincent Lux Teacher – Bernice Pucino • 4th grade – Gretchen Perine Teacher – Jennifer • 5th grade – Griffin Pundt Teacher – Sarah SiannacaThird Place • 3rd grade – Haley Mosch Teacher – Bernice Pucino • 4th grade – Bridget Claire Miller Teacher – Ahran Panek • 5th grade – Alyssa Karsten Teacher – Cathy HarrisHonorable Mention3rd gradeAyush Agrawal Najib BrownDamien CrumplerEthan DeNucciLanden SaylorGeo SmithAren Triplett4th gradeDarek ColegroveRyan FurlettiEleka GonczAbigail LynchLiam ReillyEmma WickAngelina O’connorGrade 5:Brooke BonettiMadison GageJared HartwellGino PorrettaThomas SantanaKendra HenningerNick CorsnerElizabeth Cady Stanton School Principal, Andrew Doell facilitated the essay contest. With the assistance of the teachers, Mr. Doell encouraged the kids during his morning announcements to submit an essay. Principal Doell was himself featured as a hero in one of the top essays by Alyssa Karsten – Grade 5, for his guidance to students, while Jocelyn Mansell – Grade 5, compared her hero to the selfless act performed by Mr. Varacalli.“Some students wrote about veterans, parents, siblings, and even celebrities who inspire them. Some were straight to the point, while others took two pages to describe their hero.” Said Barb Reigel, the committee’s President , “It was so enjoyable reading the essays, and it was very difficult to select winners”. While some of the children’s essays recognized many different acts, which they considered heroic, not all of their heroes risk their lives, often it was the assistance they’ve given these kids which was considered heroic. Some children learned life lessons from their heroes while others learned good characteristics to have in life such as how you treat people matters in ways we sometimes can’t see.All of the submitted essays will be displayed on the Wall of Heroes at the Seneca Falls Community Center during the Ziti Dinner, Saturday from 1 – 3 pm. After Saturday, the winning essays will be moved to Women’s Rights National Historical Park for display through the end of April.Each child who participated in the essay contest will receive a Canal Activity book and a New York State Coloring Book. Winners will receive SFBA Bucks – money vouchers for Seneca Falls Businesses or Pizza Gift Certificates. Students with Honorable Mentions will receive certificates..If you go: Antonio Varacalli Day – A Celebration Of Heroes will begin with a brief ceremony on the Bridge Street bridge at 1 pm. The ceremony will include: Antonio Varacalli Day Proclamation, Heroes Blessing, Ringing of The Bells of Bedford Falls, Antonio’s report provided by the Hero Fund, Flower ceremony, Parade of Heroes, Wall of Heroes, Ziti Dinner from 1 – 3 pm, Live Italian Music.Ziti dinners are $10 each, or $5 for children under 12. Dinner tickets may be purchased at the Downtown Deli – 53 Fall St., The S.F. Visitor Center – 89 Fall St., WomanMade Products – 91 Fall St., or at the door of The Community Center.THE ESSAYSThird Grade WinnerMy HeroMy name is Liam Anderson and I am writing this essay about my heroes Ramona and Elika.Mona and Ella are my two very best friends and heroes because they will always stick up for me.I know this because one time on my bus a boy was picking on me a lot. This went on for about three weeks. I didn’t know what to do, so I told Mona and Ella. The very next day they went to the bus driver and told him what was happening to me. The bus driver spoke to the boy and moved him to the front of the bus. This made sure he would not bother me anymore. So by writing this essay I guess I found a third hero. I wanted to tell the bus driver thank you.In conclusion this is why I picked Mona and Ella as my best friends and heroes for life.Sincerely……Liam AndersonForth Grade WinnerDaddy/Mark Adams, My HeroI was born to parents that didn’t take very good care of me. My Birth parents didn’t do the normal things that most parents typically do, like getting up in the morning and helping me get ready for school. My sister who was only two years older than me at the time would get me and my other sisters ready for school. She did the best she could do even though she was also very young. My Birth parents also didn’t keep me safe. That is why I was eventually removed from their custudy. I’ve lived with multiple families and finally came to the Adams when I was 7 years old. I was adopted a year later by the Adams. My Dad is my hero because he loves me and takes care of me and keeps me safe like parents are suppose to do.Most recently our family had a horrible house fire. The fire started at 2:00 in the morning. At the time we were all sleeping. My Dad smelt the smoke and got us all out of the house immediately.His quick thinking made sure we were all out into safety and no one was harmed. Even though we’ve lost alot of our belongings and have to rebuild our home Before we can move in, My Dad has made sure we have a place to live and are all safe and together. This is why my dad is my hero.Written by Cassidy AdamsFifth Grade WinnerMy hero is my dad, Robert Mansell (Rob). I Chose my dad because he is an every day hero. His job is to help people my dad is a police officer and a fire fighter in our communitty. In the next few paragrans I’m going to explain why my dad is my hero.My dad ia a big part of my life. He is very nice and helps me out alot. He does alot more than just help me he helps lots of other people to, My dad is a little similar to Anthony Varacalli because he risks his own life every day. He walks in fires and dangerous buildings to save people in house fires and other places too.In conclusion my dad is my hero. Hes a hero to many others to because of what he does. That is why my dad, Robert mansell (Rob) is my hero.Written by Jocelyn Mansell

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