William Floyd Student Wins 3rd Place in Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest

Written by WFSD News  |  13. January 2014

Mastic Beach, NY - January 13th, 2014 - Amanda Kempf, an eighth grader at William Paca Middle School in the William Floyd School District, was selected as the third-place winner in the middle school category for Olympusat, Inc. and Optimum’s “Power to Learn” sixth annual “Hispanic Heritage Month” essay contest. For the essay, students had to write in 500 words or less about a Latino past or present, with whom they would choose to spend a day and explain why. For her achievement, Amanda received a certificate and a Kindle Fire Netbook.   

In her essay, Amanda chose to write about actress and singer Selena Gomez who is involved in numerous philanthropic causes. “If I spent a day with Selena Gomez, I would ask her how I could go about getting involved in charities,” Amanda wrote. “I would also ask her how to start fundraising to get money for the different organizations I want to help.” Some of the causes Amanda mentioned are supporting education and helping people who lost their homes due to Superstorm Sandy.

“Amanda is wiser than her years,” said Daniela Higueros, Amanda’s Spanish teacher who encouraged her students to participate in the essay contest in order to practice their writing and learn more about famous Latinos. Ms. Higueros also shared her own personal admiration for famed teacher Jaime Escalante, a Bolivian educator who successfully taught calculus to inner-city students in Los Angeles during the 70s and 80s. 

Ms. Higueros added, “There were such thought-provoking statements in Amanda’s award-winning essay that really showed her values and her character. She is the kind of student that questions things that others don’t really think twice about. She is humble, confident and will become an incredible success at whatever she decides to do in life. She is a great role model.”

Members of Amanda’s family, school and district officials, Cablevision representatives and Mastic Beach Village Trustee Robert Morrow attended a ceremony held in her honor where she had the opportunity to read her essay in front of her classmates and guests. Trustee Morrow presented Amanda with a certificate of congratulations on behalf of Mastic Beach Village and Mayor Bill Biondi.

“The Hispanic Heritage Month essay contest provides students with an opportunity to explore Hispanic culture and showcase the fascinating individuals who have contributed so greatly to our nation,” said Mayor Biondi. “I’d like to congratulate Amanda on a job well done and also Cablevision and Olympusat for bringing this innovative and important program to our schools.”

“Cablevision is delighted to sponsor its Hispanic Heritage Month student essay contest for the sixth consecutive year,” said Cablevision Vice President of Public Affairs Jen Ostrager. “Power to Learn is proud to promote the Hispanic community’s diverse cultural heritage and we congratulate Amanda Kempf on her winning essay.”

William Paca Middle School Principal Ed Plaia added, “Amanda is the epitome of what we try to teach when it comes to character education. She’s kind, caring and compassionate, and is an excellent student. She is a leader in the truest sense of the word and is a role model for our students. Remember her name, she’s going places and she’s going to do great things.”

Pictured from left to right are Joan Gilroy, Director, Government Affairs, Cablevision; Daniela Higueros, Spanish teacher, William Paca Middle School; Todd Kempf, Amanda’s father; Robert Morrow, Trustee, Mastic Beach Village; Stacy Kempf, Amanda’s mother; Ed Plaia, Principal, William Paca Middle School; Amanda Kempf; and Kristen Thurber, Public Affairs, Cablevision.

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