Honoring drug awareness and Americanism Weehawken Elks pay tribute to essay winners

The Weehawken Elks Lodge No. 1456 realizes the importance of being able to promote positive activities for the youth of the township.

That’s why the Weehawken Elks brought back their essay contest promoting drug awareness and Americanism.

“There were two separate essay contests,” said Lisa Rovito, the Elks’ chairperson for drug and alcohol awareness and a member of the Weehawken Against Drug and Alcohol Alliance. “We had the contest a few years ago and it was great to be able to revitalize it. We’re trying to bring more people back to the Elks and we figured it would be good to involve the youngsters in a positive way.”

The students of Weehawken’s Roosevelt School were asked to enter essays for the contest.

“They volunteered their essays if they were interested,” Rovito said. “I think it was great that we had so many kids who took the time to write. It’s a good sign to get so many talented writers and entries. It shows that the kids of Weehawken truly care about drug awareness and patriotism.”

Hundreds of entries, six winners

Rovito said that there were hundreds of entries in the contest and Rovito and her committee had to narrow it down to six winners, three in each category.

All the children received a certificate and a check from the Weehawken Elks. The first place winner received $100, with the first runner-up getting $75, and second runner-up getting $50.

Joseph Sainato was the winner of the Drug Awareness essay contest, followed by Marchella Desharnais and Giana Orrechio.

William Keating won the Americanism essay contest.” His essay was so well written that he won for the entire Northeast Elks District, which includes lodges from nine different municipalities.

Keating’s essay will now be judged on a statewide level, with the possibility of being considered in a national Elks essay contest.

Alexa Torres was the first runner-up in the Americanism contest, with Nicole Batista following Torres.

All six of the award winners and their parents were treated to a special celebration at the Elks last week, attended by Mayor Richard Turner and the township council.

“A contest like this is very good for the town, because it ties into our township Drug Awareness program,” Turner said. “Lisa Rovito does a great job coordinating these events and serves well on our Drug and Alcohol committee. She monitors the voting in our poster contest that we have at the Weehawken Day Festival. It’s just another way of the Elks working together with the town on various projects all to provide education about drug awareness and patriotism. One of the premier activities that the Elks Lodge does is patriotism. Every Memorial Day, they present a Voice of Democracy award.”

Added Turner, “It also shows the children how important writing is. The Elks are encouraging the children to write more and that’s a positive thing. It shows that we’re all together for the same goals when it comes to the children.”

Rovito said that she’s hopeful that revitalizing the essay contests will get the children more involved with Elks activities in the future.

“We got quite a few essays and it was hard to keep it to just three winners in each category,” Rovito said. “It’s great to have the contest back. I think it went very well.”

Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or jhague@hudsonreporter.com


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