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Over 3,000 Participate in Statewide Competition

NEWARK, NJ, February 13, 2002 -- The names of sixteen students from schools throughout New Jersey were announced during today's NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors meeting for winning the Corporation's Black History Month art contest.

More than 3,000 students in grades 5-8 participated in the statewide contest, which was hosted by NJ TRANSIT to celebrate Black History Month. The contest was sponsored by Fleet Bank, who furnished the prizes. This is the sixth consecutive year that NJ TRANSIT has invited students from New Jersey schools to participate in Black History Month, increasing awareness of the contributions made by African-Americans. The winning artwork will be displayed on NJ TRANSIT trains and buses throughout February.

"This year's art contest featured a wide variety of African-Americans who have had a profound impact on the lives of these students, including Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, artist Henry Ossawa Tanner, boxer Muhammad Ali and many more," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh. "While we are announcing the names of the 16 winning students today, I would like to commend all of the students who participated in this year's art contest."

Each student was asked to submit an original art illustration of an African-American person or persons who has made a significant contribution in the past or present, or someone they foresee as a visionary of the future. The artwork was reviewed and evaluated by an independent judging committee.

The contest winners are:

First Place

  • Alexandra Castro (Heights Elementary School in Oakland, grade 5).
  • Louis Rivoire (John Witherspoon Middle School in Princeton, grade 6).
  • Ernest Rementilla, Jr. (Roosevelt Middle School in West Orange, grade 7).
  • Patrick Jeong (Tenakill Middle School in Closter, grade 8).

Second Place

  • Diana Osomo (Luis Munoz Marin Middle School in Newark, grade 5).
  • Jordanne M. Allen (Woodstown Middle School in Woodstown, grade 6).
  • Gunnar Arcoleo (Freehold Intermediate School in Freehold, grade 7).
  • Grace Kennedy (Hackettstown Middle School in Hackettstown, grade 8).

Third Place

  • Magnon Gauntt (Samuel Mickle School in Mickleton, grade 5).
  • Manuel Reibon (Abington Avenue School in Newark, grade 6).
  • Juan Batista (Bloomfield Middle School in Bloomfield, grade 7).
  • Alexandra Melendez (Abington Avenue School in Newark, grade 8).

Honorable Mention

  • Sergio Joseph (Central Five Jefferson School in Vauxhall, grade 5).
  • Anthony Dwayne Jeffrey (Ollie E. Culbreth P.S. #14 in Jersey City, grade 6).
  • Ronald Josias (Union Avenue Middle School in Irvington, grade 7).
  • Krystle Lemonias (Orange Middle School in Orange, grade 8).

The first place winners will receive a computer and color printer. Second place winners will receive a camcorder. Third place winners will receive a color television. Honorable mention winners will receive a $50 Barnes & Noble gift certificate.

NJ TRANSIT will host an awards luncheon February 26 at the Newark Museum to join the nation in celebrating Black History Month and acknowledge the student winners of the contest.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system, providing bus, rail and light rail services for 380,600 daily commuters on 238 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines.