BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The Bloomfield chapter of UNICO commemorated Columbus Day on Monday morning, Oct. 14, on the Green for the 24th consecutive observance of the holiday by the Italian American service organization.
UNICO once again recognized the achievement of 13 township fourth-graders who wrote an essay highlighting the character of 15th-century explorer Christopher Columbus. The program was emceed by Paul Alongi, who noted that it was his 66th year with the organization.
But acknowledgment of writing excellence is only half the of Bloomfield UNICO Columbus Day tradition, he said. The other half is pancakes served at the Civic Center on the other side of Broad Street.
“Awards and pancakes,” Alongi told the audience. “We signed on for two parts.”
Tina Bontempo, Bloomfield UNICO’s secretary, said the chapter now has Bloomfield High School students serving as interns and added that prize money had been increased. The first, second and third place winners of the essay contest would again receive checks for $125, $75 and $50, respectively, with an equal amount going to their home and school associations. But for the first time this year, each winner’s school librarian would receive a Barnes and Noble gift certificate to purchase school library books.
All students also received certificates of achievement from UNICO and, through the office of Democratic Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, of District 28, a copy of the state Legislature resolution commending their work.
The essay winners, honorable mentions and their schools are as follows: First place, Donovan Quine, Fairview; second place, Danica Sostarecz, Franklin and third place, Vincent Sabol, Demarest. The honorable mention winners are: Jamari Coe, Berkeley; Claire Jones and Sally Jenkins, Brookdale; Kristin Campos and Camilla Figueroa, Carteret; Jayda Thorne, Demarest; Santino Alcoran, Fairview; Giavana Nasce, Franklin; Althea Watterson, Watessing; and Taylor Murray, Oak View.
— Text and photos by Daniel Jackovino