A Hauppauge teenager's love of her town won her the top prize in a local essay contest.
Emily Linko, a senior at Hauppauge High School, recently took first place in the Mildred E. Smith Historical Essay Competition, sponsored by the Smithtown Historical Society. She received a $1,000 scholarship and was honored during the society's Heritage Ball on Oct. 16.
This year's contest, which received several dozen submissions, challenged students to respond to the topic: "What does it mean to be a Smithtowner?"
"I wrote about how living in the Town of Smithtown has influenced me," said Linko, 17. "I grew up here and it will be sad to leave for college next year."
In her five-page essay, Linko said she touched on topics ranging from the pleasure she gets marching in town parades to the peacefulness of hiking in Blydenburgh County Park in Hauppauge.
She said she entered the essay contest as part of an optional assignment for Ellen Robbin's AP U.S. History class.
In school, Linko plays the flute and is a member of the Mock Trial and Science Olympiad teams. She also is in the National Honor Society, German and Spanish honor societies, and the Tri-M Music Honor Society.
In her spare time, she volunteers at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church in Commack.