MAYVILLE - Chautauqua County Executive Gregory J. Edwards traveled to Chautauqua Marina in Mayville on Friday to take the two grand prize winners of the Chautauqua County Sports Fishery Advisory Board's 21st Annual Essay Contest fishing.
Ian Andersen, a third-grader from Sinclairville Elementary School, and Elizabeth Comstock, a sixth-grader from Panama Central School, won the opportunity to go fishing with Edwards after their essays were selected out of 430 well-written and thoughtful entries from 17 different schools across Chautauqua County.
Joining them on the trip were Elizabeth's grandfather Jerry Scholton, Ian's father Todd Andersen, and Chautauqua County Sports Fishing and Hunting Director Craig Robbins, who volunteered his professional guide services for the day's two-hour excursion. Ken Shearer, owner of Chautauqua Marina, also contributed to the event by providing a boat for their trip.
Pictured from left to right are grand-prize winners Ian Andersen and Elizabeth Comstock, and Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards.
The Fishing Essay Contest gave students across Chautauqua County in grades 3 through 6 the opportunity to recall their fun fishing memories as they answered the question: "Fishing Sounds Like Fun, Who Would I Like to Take Fishing with Me and Why?"
In May and June, the County Executive joined Sports Fishery Advisory Board Chairman Zen Olow, board members Daniel Dietzen, Lance Ehrhardt, Monte Kennedy and Gene Pauszek, and county legislators David Himelein, Robert Stewart and Tom Erlandson at their local school districts to deliver certificates to students and teachers who participated.
Forty students were selected as winners by the board and they all received fishing poles in addition to their certificates. From these winners, the County Executive then selected two grand prize winners to go on a fishing trip.
Winners for this year's contest were for third grade: Shannon Heath, Sinclairville Elementary School; Mercedez Obert, Chautauqua Lake Central School; Lauren Przybycien, Brocton Central School; Jena Vacanti, Brocton Central School; Kyleigh Waterman, Fredonia Elementary School; and Mya West, Brocton Central School.
For fourth grade: Makayla McGinty, Pine Valley Central School; Hannah O'Neil, Pine Valley Central School; Maia Tucker, Dunkirk School 3; Lyric Westlund, Pine Valley Central School; and Madison Dejesus Whitcomb, Brocton Central School.
For fifth grade: Selin Arnavut, Fredonia Middle School; Alex Carr, Westfield Academy & Central School; Blake Frey, Fredonia Middle School, Maddie Kawski, Brocton Central School; Taylor Rancka, Dunkirk School 3; Mariela Rivera, Dunkirk School 3; Emma Silverburg, Robert H. Jackson Elementary School; and Andrew Waag, Fredonia Middle School.
For sixth grade: Claire Apthorpe, Panama Central School; Chance Boreck, Panama Central School; Destine Jean Cappadonia, Robert H. Jackson Elementary School; Heather DeGolier, Robert H. Jackson Elementary School; Quinn Firster, Panama Central School; Garrett Fransen, Panama Central School; Breanne Fuller, Panama Central School; Kaylee Genco, Panama Central School; Claire Heimburg, Panama Central School; Mitchell Hovey, Panama Central School; Alexys Marsh, Panama Central School; Chandler Meacham, Robert H. Jackson Elementary School; Michal Nowak, Robert H. Jackson Elementary School; Isaiah Quigley, Washington Middle School; Savannah Rizzo, Panama Central School; Kaylee Royce, Panama Central School; Wesley Simmes, Panama Central School; Kayleigh Stanfield, Panama Central School; and Dominic Spotaneo.
"I would like to thank the Chautauqua County Sports Fishery Advisory Board, Chautauqua County Legislature, Chautauqua County teachers, Craig Robbins, and Ken Shearer for all of their involvement in making this year's contest a success," Edwards. said "When I first became County Executive in 2006, I added to the board's annual essay contest by establishing the grand prize of going on a fishing trip with the County Executive. I hope my successor will continue this tradition and I will deeply miss visiting the schools and meeting with the students who participated in the contest."
The Sports Fishery Advisory Board hopes that the essay contest can be an interesting educational experience for students, and helpful to teachers. It is intended to promote an awareness of Chautauqua County's ecology, the factors that affect it and the role each student plays in maintaining its quality in the future.
The contest has been held annually since 1992, with no essay being held in 2000.