UNICO toasts essay contest winners

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 1/3/24

This past fall, Marlboro UNICO honored the Middle School winners of their 29th annual Italian Heritage Essay Contest. The seventh grade winner was Chloe Collier and the eighth grade winner was Faith …

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UNICO toasts essay contest winners

This past fall, Marlboro UNICO honored the Middle School winners of their 29th annual Italian Heritage Essay Contest. The seventh grade winner was Chloe Collier and the eighth grade winner was Faith Charleston. The winners and their families were honored at a dinner at the Ship Lantern Inn, and the students each received a $200 check from UNICO.
Nick Johannets served on the UNICO committee for the contest  and was the Master of Ceremonies at the dinner.
Chloe Collier wrote about the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, touching upon the region’s, “stunning landscapes, captivating history and  distinctive cultural traditions.”
Collier highlighted the cities of Verona, Padua and Venice.
“The history of this region dates back thousands of years, with confirmation of human settlement dating back to the Bronze Age,” she wrote. “It has been shaped by the Romans, Byzantines and the Republic of Venice.”  
Collier noted the beauty of the region, citing the, “snowy peaks of the Dolomite Mountains, the intricate plains of the Po River Valley and Lake Garda and Lake Como.”
Venice, in particular, caught Collier’s imagination because of its “gorgeous architecture, serene canals and rich artistic heritage. This remarkable region also blends art and history with prominent displays of Roman monuments and features of Renaissance art; cultural traditions are also incorporated through various vibrant costumes and lively folk music, which is highlighted at the Carnival of Venice.”
Collier concluded by writing that the, “Veneto region stands out because it has something for everyone – beautiful countryside, a rich cultural heritage, sprawling vineyards and amazing cities to explore. Overall, the Veneto region is a fascinating and distinguished part of Italy.”
Faith Charleston wrote about the Renaissance with a focus on astronomer, mathematician and physicist Galileo Galilei and Leonardo da Vinci.
Faith said this period of time, “marked a significant shift from the medieval period, characterized by advancements in various fields such as science, art, literature and philosophy,” adding that Galilei and da Vinci were prominent contributors to the ‘rebirth’ of  European society.
Faith wrote that Galileo Galilei was known primarily for his, “observations of celestial bodies using his invention of the telescope.
“Galileo provided evidence supporting Copernican Heliocentrism, a theory that the Earth revolves around the sun, which contradicted the prevailing geocentric model of Ptolemy...and laid the foundation for modern Astronomy.”
Faith noted that Galileo’s theory brought him into conflict with the Catholic Church, resulting in a trial and house arrest. Eventually, Galileo was proven to be right and his theories revolutionized man’s understanding of the universe, “and laid down principles that are still used today.”
Faith wrote that Leonardo da Vinci embodied the spirit of the Renaissance, excelling, “in various fields like art, engineering, anatomy, architecture and mathematics.”
Faith pointed out that da Vinci’s most famous paintings are the ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘The Last Supper’ but he also made significant scientific discoveries. He undertook studies on human anatomy and designed several inventions, from flying machines to war vehicles.
“Da Vinci’s designs were way ahead of their time and had a profound impact on the fields of engineering and technology...paving the way for technological advancements in transportation, architecture and warfare,” Faith noted. In addition, his anatomical studies, “revolutionized medical knowledge, leading to advancements in surgery and health care practices. His artistic works continue to influences the artists of today.”
Faith concluded by stating that the Italian Renaissance, “was a transformative period in European history...the contributions of individuals like Galileo Galilei and Leonardo da Vinci played an instrumental role in shaping this period. Their specific ideas, discoveries and inventions had immediate impacts on Italian and European society by challenging existing beliefs, advancing scientific understanding, revolutionizing artistry, enhancing medical knowledge and influencing technological innovation.”
In the seventh Grade 2nd Place went to Ellie Bogrezyk and 3rd Place went to Angela Delfini. In the eighth grade, 2nd Place went to Michaella Schlissel and 3rd Place was awarded to Warren Faucher. Each 2nd Place student received $100, and each 3rd Place student received $50.
The judges for the Essay Contest were Dan Martuscello, Geoff Pesano, Jerry Amoroso and Rich Coppinger.