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Students win anti-bullying essay contest with disability theme

A total of 58 entries were received from schools in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties.

Aidan Kolar, second from left, placed second and

Aidan Kolar, second from left, placed second and won $3,000 in an essay contest coordinated by Life's WORC/The Family Center for Autism in partnership with the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation. Photo Credit: Life’s WORC The Family Center for Autism

Two Suffolk County students are among the winners of a local essay contest themed around bullying prevention for autistic and developmentally disabled individuals.

Sayville High School senior Aidan Kolar, 18, and Centereach High School sophomore Angela Huang, 16, have placed second and tied for third, respectively, in the annual contest coordinated by Life’s WORC/The Family Center for Autism in partnership with the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation. For winning, Kolar was awarded $3,000, while Huang was awarded $1,000.

This year’s contest asked students in grades nine to 12 to respond to the question: “Why do autistic and developmentally disabled people become targets of bullies, and how can my school and community prevent it?” A total of 58 entries were received from schools in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens.

“Sadly, bullying and acts of thoughtless, irresponsible conduct targeting developmentally disabled and autistic people is at a point of crisis,” said foundation president Peter J. Klein, who is also a board member for Life’s WORC/The Family Center for Autism. “I hope that this essay question will motivate more critical thinking, constructive ideas and, perhaps, solutions.”

The contest’s first-place and other third-place spot went to students from Townsend Harris High School in Flushing, Queens.

— Michael R. Ebert

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