The Ridgefield Playhouse and Union Savings Bank Announce Ellis Island Essay Contest Winners
Published on Thursday, 04 April 2019 19:06 Written by: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Union Savings Bank employees and Ellis Island Contest Winners
Children from Fairfield, New Haven, and Putnam Counties had the opportunity to share their families’ stories of immigrating to the United States in an essay contest sponsored by Union Savings Bank and The Ridgefield Playhouse. The contest was held in conjunction with three live Arts in Education performances last week of Ellis Island: Gateway to a Dream — a one-hour musical chronicling the journey of immigrants through Ellis Island in the late 1800s. In addition to writing the essay, students interviewed their families about their own history. Michele Bonvicini, Director of Community Relations at Union Savings Bank, awarded six elementary school students a $50 prize each for their inspiring essays during performances on March 27 & 28. The winners are: Marcela Flores (C V Starr Intermediate School, Brewster, NY); Scott Hirman (South School, New Canaan); Ashley Lansch (Samuel Staples School, Easton); Lia Munoz (Scotland Elementary School, Ridgefield); Addison O’Reilly (West School, New Canaan); and Marcus Papademetriou (Stillmeadow Elementary School, Stamford).
PICTURED Back row (L-R): Teresa Lang, AVP Loan Review Officer, USB; Dina Francisco Pereira, AVP, Community Relations Specialist, USB; cast members from Ellis Island; Michele Bonvicini, Director of Community Relations, USB
Front Row (L-R) Cast member from Ellis Island; Addison O’Reilly, essay contest winner from West Elementary School, New Canaan; Scott Hirman essay contest winner from South School, New Canaan; cast member from Ellis Island
“Supporting the Ellis Island Essay Contest through the Arts in Education program at The Ridgefield Playhouse is one my favorite events to participate in.” says Michele Bonvicini, Director of Community Relations for Union Savings Bank. “It is truly an honor to acknowledge these young writers who are able to share their family history. The huge smiles and heartwarming thank you made the day complete.”
The six winning essays were selected from dozens of entries that chronicled family journeys from more than 20 different countries, including British Guyana, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Greece, Mexico and Poland. Some students wrote about their own experiences of coming to America, while others chronicled their parents’, grandparents’, great grandparents’ and even great-great grandparents’ stories.
Union Savings Bank has been a longtime sponsor of The Leir Foundation Arts for everyone outreach program at The Ridgefield Playhouse, making it possible for people from low-income areas to attend family shows for free. They are also a proud sponsor of the Arts in Education series (including the essay contest) at The Playhouse, which provides school groups with educational and culturally enriching performances that correspond with specific curriculum taught in schools. For more information about the Arts in Education Program at The Ridgefield Playhouse, please visit: https://ridgefieldplayhouse.org/about/arts-in-education/.