OLEAN, NY – Local elementary school students created their own unique designs inspired by the theme “read to discover” for the annual bookmark contest sponsored by the Friends of the Olean Library Inc.

Approximately 1,300 students in grades 1 to 5 at six schools – Olean’s Eastview Elementary, Olean’s Washington West, Olean Intermediate Middle, Allegany-Limestone, Hinsdale and Portville – submitted entries.

For this school year’s bookmark contest, Peg Bothner, a Friends of the Library board member, came up the concept for the theme, which was refined by a larger group of Friends board members during their meeting in October.

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Mary Giardini, the Friends of the Olean Public Library chair for the special events committee, recalled that she sent out contest information to eight area schools in November and gave a deadline of Jan. 26 for submissions.

“The schools basically had about two months to let the students work on them,” she noted.

Giardini said she addressed the letters to the librarians at each school. “I know that in one school at least they work on them during library time,” she said. “I can’t say for the other schools.”

On March 17, the Friends hosted two receptions at the Olean Public Library for the students who had winning designs. The reception for students from Allegany-Limestone, Hinsdale and Portville took place at 11 a.m. Olean students were honored at 1 p.m.

Winners were announced by Stephen Cocca, a member of the Friends of the Library, who preceded the reading of their names with a recollection from his experiences as a fifth-grade teacher.

School-wide winners were Molly John, a third-grader at Allegany-Limestone; Daniel Armijo, a third-grader at Eastview; Kaylie Foskit, a fifth-grader at Hinsdale; Kadie Haines, a fifth-grader at Olean Intermediate Middle; Landin Taylor, a fifth-grader at Portville, and Maliyah Bryant, a second-grader at Washington West.

Allegany winners were first-graders Norah Hayes, Jonah Flick and Benjamin Alessi; second-graders Carly Reed, Josie Hastings, Asana Clancy and Lilley Hemphill, and third-graders Isabella Snyder, Abigail Middaugh, Lily Nolder and Kendall Lemon.

Eastview winners were first-graders Aralyn Jennings, Amiya Gayton, Kelsey Petruzzi and Pranavi Ambi; second-graders Velocity Menichino, Sophia LaBorde, Thomas Parker and Courtney Obergfell, and third-graders Allie Reed, Jade Stanczyko, Emma Adamski and Isaiah Gilbert.

Hinsdale winners were third-graders Kennedy Yehl and Jaylynn Wade; fourth-graders Kaleigh Buckles and Isabella Giuliano, and fifth-graders Sara Beatman and Kaya Covell.

Olean Intermediate Middle winners were fourth-graders Jabreyah Brown, Courtney Gross, Avariana Taylor,and Victoria Harris, Isabelle West, Addison Bowser and William Boye, and fifth-graders Zaiden Thack, Bianca Simons, Alana Rowand, Daisy Hoak, Maya Belle, Jacob Carney and Vailon Scott.

Portville winners were first-graders Elijah Truman, Addasyn Rankin, Myra Ubelhear and Paige Hockhousen; second-graders Alana Everitt, Colt Matz and Lucas Glover; third-graders Hannah Denning, Liam Taylor and Megan Phearsdorf; fourth-graders Adelyn Walker, Ali Haynes and Ayana DeGolier, and fifth-graders Owen Faulkner, Gianna Aloi, Mason Graves, Liam Puccinelli and Taylor Griffin.

And, Washington West were first-graders Abby Simons, Jack Hirliman and Storm Dwaileebee; second-graders Audrey Patterson, Sidney Stitt, Uma Padma Sree Thutaram, and Sophia Milligan, and third-graders Natalie Snyder, Lylah Grace Butler, Jacob McClaim and Alaina Hirliman.

Following the awards ceremony, the students and their families were treated to refreshments of an orange-flavored beverage and chocolate chip cookies.

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