FOCUS held the kickoff to the contest at its headquarters in Flushing, featuring several of the honorary judges who will assess the entries as they come in. Rev. Nicholas Genevieve-Tweed of the Macedonia AME Church, Florence Salgado of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, John Henry Byas of the Rachel Carson Community Center and state Committeeman Eddie Abrams are just a few of those appointed to judge the contest, which is open to borough elementary school students. Flushing attorney Grace Meng said the contest will be judged based on grade level, with entries separated into three categories: Kindergarten through second grade, third through sixth grade and sixth through eighth grade. Students who enter the contest must pick one of seven African-American icons who have connections to Queens - Lewis H. Latimer, James A. Bland, Ida B. Wells, Sojourner Truth, Granville T. Woods, Althea Gibson or Arthur Ashe - and answer the question "how has this leader inspired me?" Meng said entries, which should be no longer than 500 words, must be submitted in English and will be judged on creativity and content. All entrants will receive a certificate of merit from FOCUS and gift certificates will be awarded to the top entry in each group. Meng said entries must be received by 5 p.m. on Feb. 23 and can be delivered by hand or by mail to FOCUS at 135-29 Roosevelt Ave., 3rd Floor, Flushing, NY 11354. Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at news@times
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