Several students from Union City High School and Jose Marti STEM Academy demonstrated their leadership abilities and commitment to their community by winning first and second prizes in the Hudson County Prosecutor Office’s (HCPO) Global Community Day competition.
The competition aimed to encourage students to submit solutions to issues affecting their community, inspiring them to work with community groups and mobilize fellow students to effect change. Students were asked to submit ideas for “realizing brave, transformational changes.”
Natasha Borda and her team, Monica Morales, Autumn Hadnot, Gina Ortiz, and Gabriel Cucu, were awarded first place for their project on youth mental health. They identified the lack of discussion surrounding this topic as a pressing issue and created a survey questionnaire on the subject. They held a discussion/presentation event in which 32 students participated. Borda will receive a $100 Barnes & Noble gift certificate, a suitcase, and a certificate of achievement, while her teammates will receive a $25 Barnes & Noble gift certificate and a certificate of achievement.
Mariany Andrade and her team, Jasmine Almanzar, Kismairy Angelista, Aileen Acosta Pena, and Adiel Medina, won second place for their project on coat and clothing accessibility, especially during the colder months. The team implemented a winter coat and outerwear drive, distributing the items within the community and to the non-profit Palisades Emergency Residence Corp. Andrade will receive a $50 Barnes & Noble gift certificate and a certificate of achievement, while her teammates will receive a $25 Barnes & Noble gift certificate and a certificate of achievement.
The HCPO aims 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,” says Ms. Abbato, “and displayed the qualities we work to instill in our students every day.”
The competition showcased the students’ leadership qualities, creativity, and problem-solving skills, proving that they have the potential to shape their society positively.