By Jesse Buchanan, Record-Journal staff
Published May 18, 2012, in Myrecordjournal.com
MERIDAN, CONNECTICUT—Divorce, loss of family and depression ranked high in the topics covered during the Deptula Essay Contest at Lincoln Middle School Thursday evening.
Twenty-four middle school students competed with written essays and speeches in the contest sponsored by the Meriden Kiwanis Club. Awards were given for the best speakers and writers from the three public middle schools and the three parochial middle schools.
“I think it’s always wonderful to listen to the depth of the experience of our students,” said moderator and Kiwanis club chairman E. Jack Shorr.
Ali Salafia of Lincoln Middle School spoke about her cousin who was diagnosed with autism. She said the disease is more prevalent than many others but only receives about 5 percent of medical research funding. Salafia and other family members run in a race to raise money for autism research.
Salafia said she has a special bond with her cousin even though he’s not able to express what he’s feeling.
“He can always light up a room and he’s always the highlight of family events,” she said.
Salafia earned first place in both speaking and essay for her school.
Jacqueline Kasinskas also took two first-place awards for Washington Middle School with her essay and speech on running. She described how she feels when she runs and how running has helped her in life.
“Running allows me to be myself without being judged,” Kasinskas said.
About half a dozen students talked about the effect of divorce on their lives or the loss of a parent. Edison school student Amanda Fahy said her parents’ divorce was difficult, but her stepmother helped make things better.
“My stepmother treated me like one of her own kids, and that meant the world to me,” Fahy said.
Anthony Morico said his parents divorced but they both remained involved in his life and showed that they love him. He said they stressed he was never the reason for the divorce.
“I respect them and thank them for always doing what was best for me,” Morico said. “Just because my family looked or seemed different from the traditional, it doesn’t mean it didn’t work.”
Carl Keck chose a lighter topic, talking about his experience playing Tom Sawyer in a school play.
“A stage can make anyone a star,” Keck said. “There’s nothing like a stage.”
He said the topic was an easy choice.
“I chose it because I love the stage,” Keck said. “It was a good theme for a speech on stage.”
Jul 02 2012, 10:21 AM