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Making History: 5th Graders Tell the Tales of 1492

Columbus essay winners are honored by UNICO for their stories on the explorer.

It’s tough to be smarter than a 5th grader when it comes to Christopher Columbus. They know all about the legendary explorer, as judges of UNICO’s essay contest discovered. 

About his voyages and determination to beat everyone in the race to the Indies, the essay winners called him “stubborn and persistent and fearless.”

“Christopher was brave – he did not fear sea monsters, loss of food or falling off the planet,” one winner wrote.

The seven first-place winners were honored this past week at a ceremony with their teachers, principals and families: Jennifer Wheeler of Riker Hill, Ryan Militello of Mt. Pleasant, Ishan Saxena of Hillside, Jeffrey Liao of Harrison, Stella Scheier of Collins, Mia Kintiroglou of Burnet Hill, Jasmine Prophete of Aquinas Academy.

“We honor Christopher Columbus for the risks he took and the New World that he opened for the rest of the world,” said Al Branchi, president of UNICO’s Livingston chapter, which sponsors the contest. 

“The resulting history over the past 500 years has offered opportunities that have inspired people from all over the world to take risks, become leaders and reach for new possibilities,” Branchi said. 

“Perseverance is a word that describes Columbus and modern-day explorers,” one of the essay winners wrote.  “He was hungry and frustrated but never turned back.”  

The event was developed and promoted by Ralph Celebre, past president of UNICO who worked for Livingston Public Schools for 40 years. UNICO also presented two art awards to Livingston High School students who best portrayed Columbus's voyages.  The winners were Mary Mikadze and Sora Nithikasem. Their art will be on display at the Livingston Library.

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