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HITN’s 2024 Essay Contest Connects Generations Through Nutrition

May 17, 2024

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HITN’s initiative, On the Topic, prepares to announce the results of its 2024 Five Borough Essay Competition.

HITN’s initiative, On the Topic, prepares to announce the results of its 2024 Five Borough Essay Competition.

This contest is a community partnership effort in collaboration with NYC council members, including NYC Speaker Adrianne Adams, representing Queens; Majority Leader Amanda Farias, representing the Bronx; Councilwoman Jennifer Gutierrez, representing Brooklyn; Councilwoman Julie Menin, representing Manhattan; and Councilwoman Kamilah Hanks, representing Staten Island.

The contenders were third-grade students representing each of the five boroughs: Queens’ PS 080Q Thurgood Marshall Magnet School, Bronx’s PS 093 Albert G. Oliver School, Brooklyn’s PS 84 The Jose Del Diego School, Manhattan’s PS 290 Manhattan New School, and Staten Island’s PS 19 The Curtis School.

Our esteemed judging panel comprises respected elders from senior centers in each council member’s district. The Allen Community Senior Center represents Queens, YMCA Glebe Senior Center represents the Bronx, Los Sures represents Brooklyn, Lenox Neighborhood House represents Manhattan, and Cassidy Coles Neighborhood Houses represent Staten Island. Their participation strengthens the community partnership and enriches the competition’s value and depth.

Together with HITN, NYC council members, school administrators, teachers, and local senior centers, this event aimed to inspire third-grade students citywide to unleash their creativity through words, storytelling, and writing on the topic of promoting healthy foods in school cafeterias.

On the Topic celebrates the bridging of generations, empowering youth, and amplifying their voices through a concise one-page opinion essay. All while fostering strong bonds with elders as allies and elected leaders as advocates, creating a dynamic platform for youth advocacy in healthy living. It’s been a journey of inspiration and collaboration!

The organizers would like to give a very special thank you to everyone who played their part in leading this initiative:


  • Hon. Amanda Farias
  • Rebecca Nieves, Deputy Chief of Staff
  • Marco Luna, Assistant Director of Constituent Services
  • Jonathan Kaplan, Principal PS 093
  • Kyana Brooks, Director, YMCA Glebe Senior Center


  • Hon. Jennifer Gutierrez
  • Anya Lehr, Chief of Staff
  • Sereida Rodriguez, Principal PS 84
  • Christina Rosario, Assistant Principal PS 84
  • Sonia Iglesias, Director, Los Sures Senior Citizens Program


  • Hon. Julie Menin
  • John Szott, Chief of Staff
  • Harry Gale, Director of Constituent Services
  • Doreen Esposito, Principal PS 290
  • Sabrina Rizzi, Teacher PS 290
  • Nicky Kram Rosen, Teacher PS 290
  • Sara Woodson, Director, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Senior Center
  • Lark Wen, Deputy Director, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Senior Center


  • Hon. Adrianne Eadie Adams
  • Tyrel Hankerson, Deputy Chief of Staff
  • Lynette Shelborne-Barfield, Director of Strategic Partnerships
  • Maura McShane, Principal PS 080Q
  • Joanne Newton, Teacher PS 080Q
  • Angela King, Director, Allen Community Senior Center


  • Hon. Kamillah M. Hanks
  • Taliah Alexander, Administrative Coordinator
  • Javon Parnell, Community Outreach Coordinator
  • Lynette Perez, Principal PS 19
  • Jessica Goldberg, PS 19


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