ELIZABETH, NJ – In honor of Arbor Day, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders along with the Union County Shade Tree Advisory Board, recently held a contest asking county students to write an original poem honoring trees. Clark resident Reese Passuth, a fifth grader at the Frank K. Hehnly School, won first place for her poem “Seasons of Change.”

“I used the tree on the side of my house as my inspiration for the poem,” Passuth said. “During Hurricane Sandy, I thought that we might lose this tree and I wanted to use it as the subject of my poem as a way of saying that I am glad it’s still here.”

Passuth was presented a resolution by Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen and Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski during Thursday night’s Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders agenda setting meeting.

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“We had a total of 56 kids who wrote poems this year,” Bergen said. “One of the most fun things we do at this meeting is hear the winning poems from each grade.”

The contest was open to students from fourth through eighth grade in Union County Schools. The winners were selected by a group of volunteer judges.

A full list of the winners was provided by the county and can be read below:

Fourth Grade: Bianca Barreto from St. Bartholomew Academy in Scotch Plains won first place, Phillip Snair from School One in Scotch Plains won second place and Anna Maliakal from Holy Trinity in Westfield won third place.

Fifth Grade: Reese Passuth from Hehnley School in Clark won first place, Leimary Arvelo from Duarte-Marti School #28 in Elizabeth won second place and Aelyn Moran from Our Lady Of Guadalupe in Elizabeth won third place.

Sixth Grade: Catherine Dustin from the Lincoln School in Garwood won first place, George Cueva from Duarte-Marti School #28 in Elizabeth won second place and Eliana Ficarra from Lincoln School in Garwood won third place.

Seventh Grade: Mateo Vasques from Our Lady of Guadalupe in Elizabeth won first place, Angelika Demetrick from Holy Trinity in Westfield won second place and Cyril Maliakal from Holy Trinity in Westfield won third place.

Eighth Grade: Sean McTernan from Oratory Preparatory School in Summit won first  place, Annie Exi from Kawameeh Middle School in Union won second place and Eric Teixeira from Duarte-Marti School #28 in Elizabeth won third place.

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