Today: Jul 17, 2024

This I believe Essay contest announces winners

Photo Courtesy |

Shaunna Cullen – Staff Writer

The “This I Believe” essay contest gave students, graduate students, and faculty and staff to share their beliefs after reading this years school wide common read, “This I Believe” by Jay Allison.

The contest was open to everyone school wide and there was a chance to win in four different categories: First-year students, Returning Students, Graduate Students, and Faculty and Staff.  Each category included first, second, third place and honorable mentions.

According to, “In 1951, Edward R. Murrow hosted a daily radio program called “This I Believe,” which reached 39 million listeners. Well-known Americans and everyday citizens read five-minute essays sharing their personal life philosophies.

These essays that were read during this event were 350 to 500 words long and each person would pick one of their beliefs and through the essay explain or examine why they believe what they do.

First place winners were awarded an iPad, second place winners were rewarded a $100 gift card to the bookstore, and third place winners were awarded a $50 gift card to the bookstore.

During this event, people were encouraged to make their own t-shirt with “I Believe…” written on them and they were asked to finish the statement. Free food and drinks were also provided.

“In my office we especially loved the project this year, because if you work in Human Resources you know one thing is true and that is: everyone has a story.” said Jaye Bailey, Associate VP of Human Resources and Labor Relations, “Those stories, individually and collectively, are what make up the wonderful environment of Southern.”

Natalie Sabino, a member of the Southern Reads Committee and a senior communications major organized the event.

Sabino explained the essays were summer homework for incoming freshmen. She said all of the orientation leaders wrote one as well. Then the contest was created and opened up to the entire school.

Before the event started, more and more people kept coming and Sabino had to have more chairs set up. Some people were even standing.

“I did not expect this many people,” said Sabino

For the first year student category, Spanish education major Michelle Martino won third place, Meghan McTeague won second, and Rachel Pritchard won first place. Honorable mentions were John Villaluz, Lindsay Grant, Carley St. Amand, and Francis Torres.

For the returning student category, the third place winner was psychology major Kayla Samaria, second place winner was Arden Church, and the first place winner was Princess Grace Nwaohuocha. Honorable mentions were Nicole Buch, Megan O’Lena, Shannon Ryan and Brenda Yanez.

For the graduate student category, Kaitlyn Hoffmann won third place, Danielle Nardone won second, and James Rizzi won first place. Honorable mentions were Jake Goldman, Ebony Langston, and Christine Beck.

For the Faculty and Staff category, Cindy Stretch won third place, second place winner was Theresa Marchant-Shapiro, and first place was Marie Basile McDaniel. Honorable mentions were Chelsea C. Harry, Bruce Kalk and Walter Stutzman.

In Stretch’s essay, she said she believes in standing up for what she believes in.  She spoke about a demonstration she attended with her family when her son was young.

“When my voice joins the others, I hear a harmonic, the sound produced is bigger, deeper, more resonant than some of the decibels of some of our respective voices,” said Stretch in her essay.

Also included in the event was Robbie Sambat’s essay that was selected in the New Careers in Nursing contest winner for October.

The prizes winners received were funded by the Office of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, The First-Year Experience Program, The Office of Student Life, Buley Library, and SAFAC.

Photo Courtesy |
Photo Courtesy |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog