South Huntington

School District

Jupiter Hammon

Essay Contest Winners

Image of contest winners Esmeralda Benitez Fuentes, Cristopher Reyes, and Ayberk Isik

Congratulations to students Esmeralda Benitez Fuentes, Cristopher Reyes, and Ayberk Isik for placing first, second and third, respectively, in the Jupiter Hammon Essay Contest!

This past Spring, these students participated in the essay contest honoring the legacy of writer Jupiter Hammon. Hammon was born in Lloyd Harbor, New York on October 17, 1711. He is widely considered one of the founders of early American and African American writing traditions and was the first African American poet to be published in the United States. Silas Wood students were invited to participate in this worthwhile contest during their English classes last Spring and it is a great honor to see these three students, who have since then graduated to Stimson Middle School, be recognized at this event.

“I am so very proud of my students who worked tirelessly on their writing pieces with research and discussion teaching them about the life of Jupiter Hammon and what conditions were like during his life,” shared Silas Wood educator Sue Cirillo. “He inspired them to see the importance of hard work, believing in yourself, and pursuing a dream to become what your heart feels you should be.”

Preservation Long Island, owner of Hammon's Lloyd Harbor home, hosted a Zoom event on Saturday, October 17 to mark the recognition of the house as a literary landmark.  As part of the program, the winners of the essay contest were invited to submit a digital recording of themselves sharing their compositions.

This experience was amazing and I am so honored to see three of my former students recognized for their amazing achievements,” shared Sue Cirillo. We are incredibly proud of these students, each of whom are English-Language Learners who predominantly speak their native languages in their homes. Their participation in this contest and eagerness to learn more about this local and historical figure gives us great pride. "I am beyond proud of our students, they did an amazing job!" shared Silas Wood Principal Mr. Stephen Toto on having his former sixth-graders be among the winners of this special contest. "It is a testament to the hard work that not only our teachers put in place every single day, but the hard work and dedication that our Silas students put into their work everyday."

Be sure to keep an eye out for the Sunday, October 25th issue of Newsday to read more about our students' participation in this notable competition. Also, see our contest winners share their essays at the Jupiter Hammon Literary Landmark Virtual Celebration by clicking here.

Congratulations Esmeralda Benitez Fuentes, Cristopher Reyes, and Ayberk Isik on an incredible job well done!

(left to right) Educators Ms. Emily Podlaski, Ms. Lisa Lupton, Ms. Sue Cirillo, and Principal Mr. Stephen Toto congratulate former Silas Wood students Esmeralda Benitez Fuentes, Cristopher Reyes, and Ayberk Isik on winning the Jupiter Hammon Essay Contest.


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