VALPARAISO | Fourth graders Payton Gallowitch, Jade VerSchure and Giana Gavaller from Northview and Flint Lake Elementary Schools took top prizes in Aurelio’s Pizza First Annual Family Traditions Essay Contest.
A family pizza tradition since 1959, Aurelio’s Pizza recently learned about some rather interesting family traditions from the youngest members of its communities through selecting the winners of its First Annual Family Traditions 4th Grade Essay Contest.
The 300-word essays judged on length, originality, relevance and reading enjoyment starred many parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. While, Aurelio’s received heartwarming Christmas, Easter, Hanukah, Thanksgiving and summer vacation stories, there were also essays regaling observances that were just plain fun like the Pickle Hunt, Blast Party and Kites for Captain. One common message, though, rang through loud and clear in every essay: even more than kids like their traditions -- and by all accounts, they really do -- they mostly love spending uninterrupted time with their families.
Across the Valparaiso School District, Northview and Flint Lake Elementary Schools and Ms. Stefanski’s and Schulte’s classes took top honors.
First Place: Payton Gallowitch, Northview Elementary School, Ms. Stefanski’s class for It is Finally Here, winning a private class pizza party the class, a free family dinner from Aurelio’s and $100 gift card for room supplies.
Second Place: Jade VerSchure, Flint Lake Elementary School, Ms. Schulte’s class for Vacation at Cape Cod, winning a free family dinner at Aurelio’s and a $50 gift card for room supplies.
Third Place: Giana Gavaller, Northview Elementary School, Ms. Stefanski’s class for My Family Tradition, winning a free large pizza from Aurelio’s and a $50 gift card for room supplies.
"We congratulate all of our winners and were impressed by the many creative, well-written essays. You just can’t beat seeing the world through the eyes of fourth graders," said Kirk Mauriello, director of franchising Aurelio’s Pizza. "Traditions are important to Aurelio’s, too, because we’ve been part of so many throughout our 53 years in business from the Friday pizza nights and family game nights to the sports team celebrations and big holiday get-togethers. That’s what it means to be a family-owned business that celebrates families."