Union City students recently took part in a Global Community Day Competition sponsored by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.  Instilling leadership qualities in our students is part of the foundation of our schools.  That’s exactly what this competition was designed to do, and several of the students exhibited these qualities as they won first and second prizes in the competition.

The Prosecutor’s Office invited students from Union City High School and Jose Marti STEM Academy to submit solutions to issues affecting their community.  “Students submitted ideas for working with community groups and mobilizing fellow students to “realize brave, transformational changes,” according to the HCPO.

Photo Credits: Joe Lauro  

Natasha Borda earned first place, along with team members Monica Morales, Autumn Hadnot, Gina Ortiz and Gabriel Cucu.  She will receive a $100 Barnes & Noble gift certificate to use for college text books, a suitcase and a certificate of achievement.  Her teammates will receive a $25 Barnes & Noble gift certificate and a certificate of achievement.

Borda cited youth mental health, particularly the lack of discussion about the topic, as a pressing issue and asked: “What stops you from talking about your mental health?”  She and her teammates then developed a survey questionnaire on the topic and held a discussion/presentation event in which 32 students participated.

Mariany Andrade captured second place, with team members Jasmine Almanzar, Kismairy Angelista, Aileen Acosta Pena and Adiel Medina.  She will receive a $50 Barnes & Noble gift certificate and a certificate of achievement, and her team members will a $25 Barnes & Noble gift certificate and a certificate of achievement.

Andrade submitted the need for coat and clothing accessibility, especially during the colder months.  The team implemented a winter coat and outerwear drive and distributed the items within the community and to the non-profit Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation in Union City.

In announcing the awards, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office said its aim was to “help youth recognize their power to shape the society they live in, and the students showed just how much power they have.”

Superintendent of Schools Silvia Abbato praised the students for their community awareness and concern.  “All of the students who entered the competition proved their commitment to making our community an even better place in which to live,” stated Ms. Abbato, “and displayed the qualities we work to instill in our students every day.”