By Lisa PAREDES
Students from the Glendale Unified School District’s four middle schools were honored for their prize-winning essays on Dec. 8. Students, school and city officials and local business leaders gathered to recognize the outstanding work.
Students at Roosevelt, Rosemont, Toll and Wilson Middle Schools wrote on the topic of “The Importance of Education for Immigrant Children.” Each middle school selected three to four essays for the second round of judging.
Through a partnership with Vardan Stepanyan of VSS Notary and Immigration Services Consultant in Glendale, who is also a GUSD parent, students in grades seven and eight were given the opportunity to write and demonstrate their skills through the sponsored contest.
Stepanyan and his team selected one winning essay from the group of middle school entries and also awarded first through fourth place prizes to the winning students and schools.
Anthony Akhverdyan from Roosevelt Middle School won first place, Ramzi Maducdoc from Toll Middle School placed second, Kaylin Lo from Wilson Middle School was third and Nubia Morales from Rosemont Middle School was awarded fourth place.
All finalists and their schools received a cash prize. The first place student was awarded $125 for school supplies, second place won $100, third received $50 and fourth won $25.
The first place school won $600 and the second place school received $300. The third and fourth place schools were awarded $200 and $100, respectively.
The essay finalists and their school principals attended the ceremony Monday, along with members of Glendale Arts, the Rotary Club, chamber of commerce and city council. Cindy Cleary, head of the Art and Culture Dept. in the City of Glendale was also there.
“I came up with the essay contest idea a couple of months ago when we were having discussions about helping local schools,” said Stepanyan. “I thought that we should do it through the essay contest which would encourage students to participate and receive awards.
“They would be able to emphasize their views about the importance of education. Since we work in the immigration field we chose ‘The Importance of Education for Immigrant Children’ as a topic for the essay so that it can be related to what we do.”
Stepanyan added that all the submitted essays were well-written and it was hard to determine the winners.
While this is the first year for the essay contest, VSS Notary and Immigration Services is considering making it a yearly event.
“Our main goal is to support [the] community where we live and do business,” Stephayan said.
“Principals and students expressed their gratitude for the opportunity students had to express their thoughts through the writing process,” said Dr. Sebastian Puccio, GUSD coordinator for Administrative Services of the event. “Students spoke about finding their inspiration for writing in their own experiences as immigrants or through their families’ immigrant experiences.”