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M-W sophomore wins Orange County essay contest

Ms.+Rivelli%27s+class+celebrates+Tyler+Jacklitsch%27s+award+winning+essay.
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M-W sophomore wins Orange County essay contest

Ms. Rivelli's class celebrates Tyler Jacklitsch's award winning essay.

Ms. Rivelli's class celebrates Tyler Jacklitsch's award winning essay.

Ms. Rivelli's class celebrates Tyler Jacklitsch's award winning essay.

Ms. Rivelli's class celebrates Tyler Jacklitsch's award winning essay.

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Monroe-Woodbury sophomore Tyler Jacklitsch won the fourth annual Orange County Stop Hate Essay Contest.

On Wednesday, April 11, teachers and students from Orange County districts attended the Stop Hate Symposium at Washingtonville High School. According to a district press release, the symposium’s goal is to unite teachers and students and equip them with strategies that can help them wrestle with difficult issues.

Over 120 students submitted essays to the contest which was sponsored by the the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County and The Mid Hudson Social Studies Council. The contest asked students to write about issues of hate, bigotry, intolerance and the role students play in confronting injustice.

Jacklitsch’s essay was about him and hockey teammates standing up to a bully on the team.

In his essay, Jacklitsch wrote that he was “always wondering if today will be our day…who will get called out and ridiculed today.”

Jacklitsch wrote about the time the bully was going to throw a teammate’s bag in the shower and turn on the water. Jacklitsch wrote that he said “Hey, that’s not right”, his teammates agreed, and the bully backed down. Jacklitsch’s essay describes the courage it takes to stand up for what’s right.

“For some people it’s easy to say something without the fear of being judged,” wrote Jacklitsch, “but for many of us it’s not that simple.”

Jacklitsch wrote the essay as an assignment for Ms. Rivelli’s English class.

“I believe Tyler’s essay won because it wasn’t this monumental moment, or a famous person or book that he chose to write about; he picked a regular moment that teenagers are faced with on a daily basis, and he chose to be an upstander,” wrote Ms. Rivelli an email.

According to the website for The Bully Project, an “upstander” is a person who realizes someone is being bullied and speaks up.

“He demonstrated that it is hard to speak up,” wrote Rivelli, “but that we all can and need to do it.”

Ms. Rivelli stated that she was impressed with Jacklitsch’s writing.

“Tyler in particular, really found his voice and was able to describe a particular moment in a simple yet very eloquent way,” wrote Ms. Rivelli.   

“I hope people learned that you don’t have to say a lot to change a situation for the better,” said Jacklitsch.

“My decision to speak up doesn’t change the world,” wrote Jacklitsch in his essay. “However, if everyone makes the choice to speak up when something is wrong, we can make a difference in the world.”

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M-W sophomore wins Orange County essay contest