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BRCC essay picks developing brains-Essay asks grade school scribes, ‘If I could change one thing, it would be...’

Students at 22 area elementary and intermediate schools will be sharpening their pencils to compete in the annual essay contest sponsored by the Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC).

The students -- in fifth through eighth grade -- will compose their essays on the topic, “If I could change one thing, it would be....”

Arlene Keating, BRCC’s president, said that the topic was announced at a lunch meeting held at William McKinley Intermediate School, I.S. 259, 7301 Fort Hamilton Parkway. The school principals who attended the meeting, she said, seemed pleased with the topic. “They particularly liked the topic because you can take it in so many directions,” Keating stressed, “so it’s really a creative opportunity for the students.”

Essays are due back to BRCC by March 9th, Keating said; they will then be read by a panel of independent judges, many of them retired teachers, with the winners to be honored at the council’s May meeting, to be held Tuesday, May 26th, at McKinley, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

A grade winner will be determined for each participating school; in addition, an overall winner in each grade will be determined.

“The principals love this program,” Keating remarked. “The children have to write their essays in class. These are their words, demonstrating their creativity, and they’re wonderful.

“We’re looking forward to it,” she went on. “The kids enjoy it. It’s challenging. They know it’s competitive, and the teachers enjoy it.”

For the council, the essay contest is also another opportunity to connect with area youth. “It’s an ongoing tradition of the council,” Keating stressed, “as is Track and Field and the Halloween Art Contest.”

The reason the awards are given out at the May meeting, Keating added, is that it provides an opportunity for the council to showcase another of its programs, the Kassenbrock Brothers Memorial Scholarship Fund, to students and their parents. “It’s an opportunity to hear that the council has such benefits, and gives them something to strive for,” Keating noted. The scholarships, she added, are awarded based largely on community service performed by the students who apply.

This year, the schools participating in the competition are P.S. 102, P.S. 104, P.S. 127, P.S. 170, P.S. 176, P.S. 185, P.S. 204, P.S. 229, P.S. 503, P.S. 506, I.S. 187, I.S. 201, I.S. 259, Our Lady of Angels School, St. Ephrem’s School, St. Anselm’s School, St. Bernadette’s School, St. Patrick’s School, Visitation Academy, Holy Cross G.S.K. Parochial School, Lutheran Elementary School and Adelphi Academy.

The essay contest began in the 1970s.

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