'Who would you choose for president?'

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Thea Sieban nominated her father, the late Ed Sieban, the former mayor of East Rockaway. Because the essays were supposed to be anonymous, the Stern family gave her a special award for what she wrote.

“I think … my father would have been perfect for this job,” Thea wrote. “He believed in fairness. He saw that the future generations needed more opportunities to succeed. He always cared about public opinion, and that is what made the people of this town so happy. 9/11 was the worst time of year for my father. He knew so many people who passed away. If my father was president, the way he would help would be to talk about it honestly … I cannot think of a more just, compassionate person than my father …”

Drew McCartney was the elementary school winner, choosing his neighbor Donald Colwell because “he is heroic, strong, supportive, helpful, compassionate, full of honor, and inspiring to me.” Drew went on to point out Colwell’s physical and mental strengths, and said that Colwell displays the American flag on all holidays, including 9/11. “He is very respectful toward others and the environment,” he wrote. “He does not litter and he recycles … he is very knowledgeable and a good problem solver. He is good with helping me with my homework. He would be good at solving the nation’s problems.”

Middle School winner John Parenti (last year’s elementary school winner) chose former New York City Mayor Rudy

Giuliani as someone he would vote in as president. “I have learned about many things that happened that day, and in the weeks to follow. The one person that always stood out to me was Mayor Rudy Giuliani. John wrote the he was impressed with how Giuliani encouraged tourists to come to New York, and to not be afraid. “He believed that would just make the terrorists even more successful … he calmed a city, and possible a country, at a time when no one thought that possible … he helped us feel safe again.”

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