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    Earth Day Essay Contest Awards Presented

    The University of Scranton announced the winners of its Earth Day Essay Contest for students in grades six through 12 at a virtual ceremony conducted by University students Angela Hudock, Samuel Marranca, Michael Quinnan and Nathaniel Smith, and Mark Murphy, director of the University’s Office of Sustainability. This year’s essay theme was “Caring for our Common Home.”
    April 22, 2021

    Sixty-four students in grades six to 12 from Pennsylvania, New York and Singapore participated in The University of Scranton Earth Day Essay Contest this year. Awards were announced in a virtual ceremony on Earth Day, April 22.

    University students who work in the Jesuit school’s Office of Sustainability reviewed the essays submitted, in addition to organizing and participating in the virtual award ceremony. University students participating in the ceremony were: Angela Hudock, a biochemistry, cell and molecular biology major from Sayre; Samuel Marranca, a history major from Pittston; Michael Quinnan a biomathematics major from Shavertown; and Nathaniel Smith, a neuroscience major from of Wilkes-Barre.

    “The quality of the submittals was very impressive again this year,” said Mark Murphy, director of the Office of Sustainability at the University. “The essay contest creates an opportunity for our young people to select an Earth Day topic, research it and write about it. Many students relate their topics to personal experiences and we feel this is a powerful way to impact our young people to care for our planet.”

    This year’s essay theme was “Caring for our Common Home.”

    According to Murphy, topics covered in essays this year included recycling, conservation, minimalism, plant based diets, single-use items, bees, gardening, the Paris Climate Agreement, agriculture, food composting, upcycling and micro-plastics, among others.

    The sixth-grade essay contest winners were all from Bay Academy in Brooklyn, New York: Sophia Kokaram, first place; Ameen Zafar, second place; and Michael Gotesman, third place.

    The seventh-eighth grade essay contest winners were: Stephen Tharian, first place, Bay Academy; Kayla Marie Goultone, second place, Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligence Charter School, Scranton; and Abernathy Itterly, third place (tie), Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligence Charter School and Haram Shahid, third place (tie), Bay Academy.

    The eighth-grade essay contest winners were: Ronan Whittaker, first place, Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligence Charter School; Gianna Coroniti, second place, Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligence Charter School; Jaela Callender, third place (tie), Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligence Charter School and Brian Yablonovskiy, third place (tie), Bay Academy.

    The ninth-10thgrade essay contest winners were: Kiera Kupsho, first place, Hazleton Area Academy of Science, Drums; and Brooke Charette, second place, Hazleton Area High School, Hazleton.

    The 11th-12th grade essay contest winners were not designated as first, second or third place, but recognized as award winners. The students receiving an award for the 11th and 12th grade category were: Hannah Burke, Blue Mountain High School, Schuylkill Haven; Chan Kia Meng Charles, Dunman High School, Singapore; Gavin Ross, Abington Heights High School, Clarks Summit; and Ashley Sabia, Hazleton Area Academy of Science.

    Information about next year’s essay contest will be posted to the University’s Sustainability webpage in January 2022.

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