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‘United We Stand’ theme of arts and essay contest

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Students in Little Neck and Douglaston, most of whom have never experienced war, will get a chance to reflect on the ideas of patriotism and respect for the nation’s veterans with the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade’s annual Arts and Essay contest.

This year’s theme, “United We Stand,” mirrors the country’s renewed sense of national pride after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, contest organizer Edith Bassom said.

“I think it is a wonderful program,” said Bassom, who lives in Bayside. “It teaches everybody.”

Bassom said organizers, who field hundreds of entries including short essays, poems, and artwork, learn as much from the children’s work as the youngsters do.

When it comes to how students will deal with this year’s theme, Bassom said “they’re going to tell us.”

The 2002 program has been expanded from years past, Bassom said, when only students from PS 94 in Little Neck and PS 98 and St. Anastasia in Douglaston were permitted to enter.

This year any school age child in Little Neck or Douglaston will be able to participate in the annual contest, Bassom said, with the help of area libraries.

“Through the libraries we’ll reach out to the children,” she said.

Both the Douglaston-Little Neck Public Library on Northern Boulevard and the North Hills Public Library on Marathon Parkway will make contest rules and regulations available for children and the rules will also be posted at the group’s web site at www.littleneck.net.

Bassom said the parade committee was also working to arrange a system whereby students could drop off finished entries at the same libraries for the contest’s May 10 deadline.

The parade committee was expected to take about two weeks to choose the winning entries, which will include a winner from every grade level as well as a Junior Americanism Award chosen by the Bayside-Little Neck-Douglaston Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Winners will get their prizes during a pizza party at St. Anastasia’s Church, where state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) was expected to present the students with special medals.

As per the parade’s tradition, all arts and essay contest winners are welcome to march in the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade under their own banner.

For more information about the contest go online to www.littleneck.net.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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