Nassau County Legis. Wayne H. Wink Jr., right, congratulates winners...

Nassau County Legis. Wayne H. Wink Jr., right, congratulates winners of the Shop Port Holiday Essay Contest, which asked schoolchildren in the Port Washington business district to come up with ways to improve the shopping experience at local businesses. The event was sponsored by the Port Washington Business Improvement District. (Feb. 9, 2012) Credit: Ann Luk

Naome Sajnani, a seventh-grader at Weber Middle School in Port Washington, doesn’t yet know whether she wants to be a doctor or a lawyer. But on Thursday, she was recognized as a creative writer.

Sajnani was among the 24 winners of the second annual Shop Port Holiday Essay Contest who were honored in the Lapham Meeting Room at Port Washington Public Library.

She won second place in the middle school division of the essay contest created by the Greater Port Washington Business Improvement District to improve the shopping experience at local businesses, Sajnani was awarded $150 for her suggestions.

“I plan to put it into my college account,” she said.

Her ideas included cozy seating for seniors, play areas for children and treats for pets. Her essay suggests collaboration between local businesses and restaurants to host events similar to Fashion’s Night Out in Manhattan.

The ceremony’s host was Roy J. Smitheimer, BID's executive director. The event began with the Pledge of Allegiance, and essay readings from the winners.

“For me I feel the student has more ideas, said BID vice president Christina Cheng, who thought of the essay contest two years ago. “The parents are so busy with their work, and students are more clear-minded.”

The first-place winner of the high school category was 10th-grader Noah White, who stressed the idea of shopping locally and won $500 for his essay.

“For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, donations and other expenditures. If you spend that on a national chain, only $43 stays locally. If you spend it online, nothing comes back to the community,” said White as he read his essay, which included ideas like creating phone applications and creating charity nights.

Prize winners

Elementary school (K-2)

1st Prize: Yasmen Munoz - Kindergarten (Guggenheim School)
1st Prize: Sam Rothenberg - 1st grade (Daly School, tie)
1st Prize: Epsy Cassidy - 1st grade (Sousa School, tie)
1st Prize: Bella Feigin - 2nd grade (Guggenheim School)

Elementary school (3-5)

1st Prize: Anthony Guzzello - 5th grade (Daly School)
2nd Prize: Caleb Thomas - 3rd grade (Salem School)

Middle school

1st Prize: Jillian Keyes - 8th grade (Weber Middle School)
2nd Prize: Naome Sajnani - 7th grade (Weber Middle School)

High school

1st Prize – Noah White - 10th grade (Schreiber HS)
2nd Prize – Ryan Schwartz - 11th grade (Schreiber HS)

Honorable mention winners

Grade school

Claire Blumberg - 4th grade (Daly School)
William Lowe - 3rd grade (St. Peter’s)
Maximus Mongelli - 3rd grade (St. Peter’s)
Jonathan Nadolne - 5th grade (Salem School)
Christina Sanders - 4th grade (St. Peter’s)

Middle school

Kieran Dennis - 6th grade (St. Peter’s)
Madeline Fagen - 8th grade (Weber)
Jonathan Lin - 7th grade (Weber)
Will Popovich - 6th grade (St. Peter’s)
Helena Sanders - 7th grade (St. Peter’s)

High school

Christina Corbo - 11th grade (Schreiber)
Taehoon Kim - 11th grade (Schreiber)
Stephen Jagard - 12th grade (Schreiber)
Ali Seltzer - 11th grade (Schreiber)

Photo: Nassau County Legis. Wayne H. Wink Jr., right, congratulates winners of the Shop Port Holiday Essay Contest. (Feb. 9, 2012)

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