Three Columbia High School (CHS) ninth-grade students were presented with awards at Tuesday's Maplewood Township Committee meeting for writing winning essays as part of a local contest.
First prize went to Nyeshia Norris, who received a check for $300. The second prize, worth $150, went to Sofia Gonin while third prize, and $50, was awarded to Elizabeth Barreiro.
The contest asked writers to consider the theme of human behavior in answering the question: What is the most powerful motivator of one’s actions?
Students were asked to consider the following quote from William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ when writing their essays: “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Contestants were judged on their ability to write a thoughtful essay that promoted social action for the education of the poor and/or elimination of poverty.
The contest, sponsored by the Educare Foundation, the Maplewood Is Kind campaign and the CHS English Language Arts Department awarded prizes to the students for their work.
The Educare Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on educating poor children in India.
The goal of the contest, according to the organization's president Naresh Jain, was to inspire students to feel compassion and take action to help others.
Jain singled out Gary Pankiewicz for helping to spearhead the contest at the school.
Pankiewicz , was a 6-12 grade ELA supervisor until his recent resignation this past June.