LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., Aug. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 1,300 children, ages 5 – 12, participated in Astoria Federal Savings sixth annual essay contest, by completing the statement: "If I save a lot today, in the future I could..." This year's contest was Astoria Federal Savings' largest ever, and was part of the fun and educational Teach Children to Save celebrations conducted in every neighborhood branch throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester.
Of the essays received, judges selected seven top winners and one local winner from each branch location. The grand-prize winner was 11-year-old Brandon Feuerstein of Plainview, who received a new laptop computer, which was presented at a recent awards reception. Adding to the excitement of having a grand-prize winning student, Brandon's Middle School Principal John McNamara and Fifth Grade Teacher Carole Green from Plainview Old Bethpage Middle School were presented with a laptop for the school's use.
In his essay, Brandon writes that with his savings he plans to build a theater in New York City called "Stars of Today," to help people with disabilities and special needs achieve their dreams of being involved in the theater. "I will not judge these kids by how they look," Brandon says, and he hopes they will become "legendary and star on Broadway!"
Three first-place winners were chosen, and each received a $500 Savings Bond. They are:
- 7-year-old Kathryn Postiglione of Lynbrook, Nassau
- 9-year-old Hafsa Hossain of Richmond Hill, Queens
- 11-year-old Anthony Sutich of Whitestone, Queens
Three second-place winners were chosen, and each received a $250 Savings Bond. They are:
- 5-year-old Peter Jon Kakalos of North Merrick, Nassau
- 8-year-old Haaris Ajaz of Brooklyn
- 11-year-old Lauren Secilmis of Sunnyside, Queens
Every child who was selected as a local winner from their community branch won a $50 U.S. Savings Bond, a Teach Children to Save Celebration Award Certificate and medal. All of the winners were invited to their local Astoria Federal Savings branches to receive their awards.
Most of the young writers said they wished to make the world a better place. They would use their saved money for college and to help their families financially, save the environment, stamp out hunger and disease, and help others less fortunate. In general, they all recognized that the first step to becoming successful is to work hard in school and get a good education.
"We were thrilled to see so many children participate in the contest, and their essays were really unique and impressive. Through partnerships with local schools, we reached out to thousands of students to teach them about making smart financial choices, starting at a young age," said Astoria Federal Savings Senior Vice President and Director of Marketing Brian Edwards. "This contest is a great way to follow through on that important message and get children to think about their goals for the future and also what it will take to get there."
Astoria Federal Savings' Education First initiatives include the Student Savers and Bank-at-School programs, as well as the Kids Tools for School Collection Drive to help children be prepared on the first day of school by providing them with new school supplies, and The First Home Club™ to promote homeownership. These programs and others were all designed to encourage lifelong learning. For additional information about Astoria Federal Savings' Education First financial literacy programs, please call 1-800-ASTORIA.
Astoria Financial Corporation (NYSE: AF), with assets of $17.1 billion, is the holding company for Astoria Federal Savings and Loan Association. Established in 1888, Astoria Federal, with deposits in New York totaling $11.2 billion, is the largest thrift depository in New York and embraces its philosophy of "Putting people first" by providing the customers and local communities it serves with quality financial products and services through 85 convenient banking office locations and multiple delivery channels, including its enhanced website, www.astoriafederal.com. Astoria Federal commands the fourth largest deposit market share in the attractive Long Island market, which includes Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk counties with a population exceeding that of 38 individual states. Astoria Federal originates mortgage loans through its banking and loan production offices in New York, an extensive broker network covering fourteen states, primarily along the East Coast, and the District of Columbia, and through correspondent relationships covering fifteen states and the District of Columbia.
SOURCE Astoria Federal Savings