2018 Essay Contest Winners Announced

The Life’s WORC Family Center for Autism, in partnership with The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Essay Contest!

Students in grades 9 to 12 enrolled in public or private schools in Nassau or Suffolk counties as well as Queens are competed for the $4,000 first-place prize, $3,000 second-place award or $2,000 third-place winner.

Essays addressed the question: “Why do autistic and developmentally disabled people become targets of bullies, and how can my school and community prevent it?”

“I hope that this essay question will motivate more critical thinking, constructive ideas, and perhaps, solutions,” said Peter J. Klein, President of The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation and Life’s WORC/FCA Board Member. “Sadly, bullying and acts of thoughtless, irresponsible conduct targeting developmentally disabled and autistic people is at a point of crisis,” Klein said. “How can schools and communities help to bring about new social improvements and bring an end to this form of prejudice and intolerance?”

The 2018 Winners are:

First Place – Amanda Renzi, Townsend Harris High School, Flushing

Second Place – Aidan Kolar, Sayville High School

Third Place Tie:

Bindu Koyi – Townsend Harris High School, Flushing

Angela Huang – Centereach High School

Awards were presented at an event at The Family Center For Autism in late May. Congratulations to all of our winners!


First Place Winner Amanda Renzi with judges.

Second Place Winner Aidan Kolar with judges.

Third Place Winner Angela Huang with judges.

Third Place Winner Bindu Koyi with judges.

The  late Claire Friedlander, established the foundation to foster tolerance as she was a Holocaust survivor who immigrated from Nazi Germany to the United States. Life’s WORC was founded by Victoria Schneps-Yunis, co-publisher of the Long Island Press, which is also sponsoring the event along with the Queens Courier. In addition to Klein, judges for this contest include Northville Industries Corp. CEO Dr. Gene Bernstein, Life’s WORC Executive Director Janet Koch and Kelly McMasters, Asst. Professor of English and Publishing Studies Director at Hofstra University.

To read last year’s winning essays, CLICK HERE.
To read 2016’s winning essays, CLICK HERE.