NJ student wins contest with inspirational essay following elementary school fire

Posted at 8:52 AM, Jun 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-16 08:46:51-04

NEW YORK (PIX11) — James Monroe Elementary School was destroyed by a fire on March 22, 2014.

The only things left standing were the American flag and the school sign.

This inspired 5th grader Gabby Martini to enter the PNC American Patriot Essay Contest in which school children throughout the State of New Jersey wrote about “What the American Flag Means to Me.”

Gabby’s essay was on how the American flag stood as a symbol of hope and happiness at the school before it burned down. She noted that James Monroe was the only school she ever attended and she hoped that the school would be rebuilt and the flag will stay there forever.  Gabby’s essay was selected by a panel of judges comprised of PNC and Balloon Festival staff and educators as the Grand Prize winner from thousands of entries received statewide.

The contest for New Jersey students in grades 2-12 is part of PNC’s community outreach efforts through its association with the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America.

Gabby will also receive a free ride in a hot air balloon and four Blue Sky Club VIP tickets during the 32nd annual Festival at Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ, July 25-26-27, 2014.

Where: Middlesex County College  (temporary replacement for James Monroe Elementary School)

2600 Woodbridge Avenue

Edison, NJ 08818