In The Schools

St. Rose Fifth-Grader Pens Award-Winning Essay on Making New Jersey Better

Assemblyman David Rible presents Ryan Merkler of Belmar, a fifth-grader at St. Rose Grammar School, with his award plaque as a winner in the assemblyman’s annual essay contest. Credits: Assemblyman David Rible's Legislative Office
Assemblyman David Rible treated his essay contest winners, including Ryan Merkler of Belmar, on Rible’s right, to a tour of the Statehouse and Assembly chamber, and lunch during a trip to Trenton. Credits: Assemblyman David Rible's Legislative Office

BELMAR, NJ — A St. Rose Grammar School student was among 10 winners of Assemblyman David Rible’s annual essay contest, opened to all fourth- and fifth-graders from the 30th Legislative District.

Fifth-grader Ryan Merkler of Belmar in his winning entry answered the question: “If you were governor, how would you improve New Jersey? His essay, in 300 words or less, centered around these major points:

  • Lowering taxes “by making sure elected officials do not get paid too much or too little.”
  • Merging municipal police departments into one department for each of New Jersey’s 21 counties.
  • Requiring testing for teachers to ensure they are meeting quality education standards. Those who don’t meet the standards would be required to attend a two-week training program,
  • Grow small jobs by helping grow small businesses.
  • Reduce the crime rate by making sure there are police officers patrolling the streets.  “I have noticed there are more officers around and I think that is good," Merkler writes: “The one reason is (Belmar Police Chief Andrew) Huisman. We need more people like him.”

For their efforts, Merkler and the nine other contest winners — representing Wall, Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights, Howell and Point Pleasant — were recently taken on a tour of the New Jersey Statehouse and Assembly chamber by Rible, who also treated them to lunch.

Sign Up for E-News

 “I’ve hosted this essay contest for many years now and every year the essays get better,” he said. “I’m continually impressed with how much our students are learning about our state and government, both at school and home.”

The winning entries were selected from hundreds of submissions from throughout the legislative district, which includes Belmar and Lake Como.


TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como is Belmar and Lake Como’s only free daily newspaper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TAPintoBelmar.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Belmar/Lake Como

Health Alert: Child with Measles Traveled to Newark Airport on March 12

March 15, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — If you were at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, March 12 between 12:45 and 9 p.m., you may have been exposed to measles and should contact your health care provider.

The N.J. Department of Health has issued a public health alert after a child with a confirmed case of measles — a highly contagious disease — arrived in Terminal B at Newark Liberty ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, March 19, 7:00 PM

Belmar Municipal Building, Belmar

Belmar Planning Board


Tue, March 20, 6:00 PM

Belmar Municipal Building, Belmar

Belmar Mayor and Council Meeting


Tue, March 20, 6:30 PM

Belmar Arts Center, Belmar

Belmar Arts Center Writers Group


Tue, March 20, 7:30 PM

Lake Como Borough Hall, Lake Como

Lake Como Council Meeting


Wed, March 21, 9:30 AM

Lake Como Borough Hall, Lake Como

Lake Como Mommy and Me Play Date


Wed, March 21, 1:00 PM

Belmar Arts Center, Belmar

The Book Art Show at Belmar Arts Center


Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM


Belmar Zoning Board of Adjustment


Sat, March 24, 9:00 AM

Bar Anticipation, Lake Como

Kilt Run to Benefit the Belmar/Lake Como St.


Sat, March 24, 11:00 AM

Ale House Sports Bar and Grille, Brielle

Ales for Whales II to Benefit the Marine Mammal ...


Sat, March 24, 11:00 AM

Second, Third and Fourth Avenue Beaches

Belmar Easter Egg Hunt


Sat, March 24, 12:00 PM

Jake's Downtown, Belmar

Jake's Downtown Slider Saturdays


Sat, March 24, 1:00 PM

The Stone Pony, Asbury Park

Paint the Pony Purple to Benefit the Epilepsy ...

Building Meadow's Garden & Playground: A Father's Vision to Honor His Daughter

March 11, 2018

PARKLAND, FL — For Andrew Pollack, the loss of his daughter Meadow Pollack in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy has spurred him to focus his energies on improving school safety and build a playground to honor his daughter.

"I had a vision of, instead of going to the cemetery, I wanted to do something that Meadow would have liked to go to, Pollack said. "I had a vision of ...

Electronics: The Negative Impact on Literacy

March 6, 2018

To the Editor:

As speech-language pathologists across New Jersey prepare to mark National March into Literacy Month,  let’s address the alarming number of young children who spend countless hours a day on a handheld screen.

According to a study from the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, the more time that children under age 2 spend on smartphones, tablets and electronic ...

Belmar Firefighters Put Out Bedroom Fire in 16th Avenue Home, Rescue Trapped Dog

March 10, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Firefighters were successful yesterday, March 9, in containing a house fire at 205 16th Avenue to one bedroom, including rescuing a dog trapped in that room, according to Belmar Fire Marshal Ryan Dullea.

Because the door to the bedroom where the fire occurred was closed, the Belmar Fire Department was able to bring the blaze under control within 30 minutes after receiving ...