North Bergen 5th Grader Wins National Kindness Speech Competition

5th grader Warren Pinnawalage studies at John F. Kennedy Elementary (STEM/STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) School in North Bergen.  Warren was born in New York.  His parents came to the United States from Sri Lanka.  His father is Dr. Ron, a civil engineer, and his mother is Dr. Sugi, a licensed psychotherapist.  Warren is a boy scout and can speak Sinhala, the official Sri Lankan language.  Warren has received many accolades in his young life, the most recent being winning the 5th annual, National Kindness Speech Contest.

At the age of 10, Warren achieved his Presidential Volunteer Gold Service Award, presented by President Joe Biden.  When he was 9, he did his 1st TEDxTalk on Bullying. Here is the link.
Warren completed the Animal Psychology/Pets Behavior course with Udemy. He earned many badges from Home Depot and Lowes from participating in free building workshops.
His public speaking journey started when he was four years old, and his first presentation was in front of more than 500 people at a cultural show in Staten Island, New York. After that, he was involved in many speaking activities in English and Sinhala. He has volunteered at 2 TEDx events in Texas and Staten Island. Warren did multiple international TV programs, and one of them reached over 1.6 million people (Talk with Chatura) in Facebook views. He is a two-time Boy Scout Pinewood Derby car winner (2nd Place) and the “Coolest car” category 1st Place: 2024. Also, he was invited to deliver a motivational speech during the Sri Lankan festival in New York in 2024 in front of more than 1000 Sri Lankan community members.
He is highly involved with VFW (Veterans of Foreign Affairs) and is a regular volunteer. Warren won the Patriotic Pen Essay competition from Post 2648 and was recognized by Post 2294. Also, he received an Award of Honor (Citizenship, Scholarship & Attendance) from VFW Post 2648 in May 2024. Recently, he was able to share a breathing exercise with other kids in the community and STEM/STEAM summer camp under the supervision of his mother.  The US embassy in Colombo invited Dr. Sugi to present Mental Health Awareness and Resilience. Warren also met with Her Excellency Ambassador, Mrs. Julie Chung, and shared his growth and progress in life, educational journey, and social services.
Warren has received recognition from North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners.
At the Kennedy School he is in the choir and band, playing drums and piano, and has been involved in two recitals. Also, he is a member of the school climate committee. His cultural drum activity was also featured in an international children’s TV program. He is a gardener and has been featured in international newspapers and TV. He was a member of “Muthuhara” (Children’s Talent showcase group) and Sunday school.
Congratulations to Warren on all of his success.  He undoubtedly is a young man to keep an eye on in the future.



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