‘What would Gandhi do?’

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R.I. eighth graders share his message in URI essay contest

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 23, 2013 – A Jamestown eighth grader won first place in the University of Rhode Island Gandhi Essay Contest for his essay titled “The Ripple Effect of Ahimsa: Gandhi’s Beliefs in Action.” Alex Supron, who attends St. Michael’s Country Day School in Newport, was recognized at an award ceremony on May 1 at URI’s Multicultural Center.


Sponsored annually by the URI Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, the essay contest received 88 submissions this year, from 13 public and private schools. Twenty-one eighth grade students with the top scoring essays were recognized as finalists at the award ceremony.


Supron’s essay focused on the importance of considering other people’s needs and serving humanity. He discussed how people can apply this philosophy to everyday life and, particularly, how he and his peers at St. Michael’s participate in community service and charity work.


St. Michael’s students Victoria Boatwright of Newport and MaryAnn Rompf of Newport won second place. The third place winners were Sydney Jenkins, a Hope resident who attends Moses Brown School in Providence, Jessica McDonald, a Tiverton resident who attends St. Philomena School in Portsmouth, and Ava Sheldon, who attends Winman Junior High School in Warwick.


A complete list of finalists and their schools is below. Tim McMahon, a teacher at St. Michael’s, had an impressive seven students place as finalists in the essay contest.


The Gandhi Judging Committee consisted of Paul Bueno de Mesquita, Center director and a psychology professor; Ruby Roy Dholakia, a marketing and supply chain management professor and contest founder; Dilip Datta, a mathematics professor emeritus; Nikhilesh Dholakia, a marketing and supply chain management professor; Diane Kern, an associate professor in the School of Education; Tia Lahiri, mother of Pulitzer prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri; Clay Sink, a management professor emeritus; and Indu Suryanarayan, a mathematics professor emeritus.


Also on hand was Ghasi Ram Verma, mathematics professor emeritus, who assisted with the presentation of the Center’s “Compassion and Selfless Service to Others” award to finalist Andrew Lopresti, an 8th grade student at St. Michael’s and resident of Newport.


The Gandhi Essay Contest is sponsored by the URI Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies. The Center also thanks the URI School of Education, the URI Multicultural Center, professor Diane Kern, and her secondary education students for their help in making this annual contest and event possible.


2013 Gandhi Essay Contest Finalists:


Lydia Beal, honorable mention, St. Michael’s Country Day School, Newport


Andrew Binder, honorable mention, The Gordon School, East Providence


Victoria Boatwright, second place, St. Michael’s Country Day School, Newport


Allie Brennan, honorable mention, Winman Junior High School, Warwick


Casey Gannon, honorable mention, Winman Junior High School, Warwick


Deirdre Irvine, honorable mention, St. Michael’s Country Day School, Newport


Sydney Jenkins, third place, Moses Brown School, Providence


Gwendolyn Kalian, honorable mention, Winman Junior High School, Newport


Michael Kodua, honorable mention, Slater Junior High School, Pawtucket


Andrew LoPresti, honorable mention, St. Michael’s Country Day School, Newport


Aubrianna Majewski, honorable mention, St. Michael’s Country Day School, Newport


Jessica McDonald, third place, St. Philomena School, Portsmouth


Haley Pollock, honorable mention, Winman Junior High School, Warwick


MaryAnn Rompf, second place, St. Michael’s Country Day School, Newport


Julia Sharma-Mathias, honorable mention Winman Junior High School, Warwick


Ava Sheldon, third place, Winman Junior High School, Warwick


Meghan Smith, honorable mention, St. Philomena School, Portsmouth


Eliana Stein, honorable mention, Winman Junior High School, Warwick


Alex Supron, first place, St. Michael’s Country Day School, Newport


Vanessa Varone, honorable mention, Sacred Heart School, East Providence


Ariana Wynn, honorable mention, Park View Middle School, Cranston


This press release was written by Danielle Sanda, an intern in URI’s Department of Marketing and Communications and a public relations major.


Pictured above:

Alex Supron, a St. Michael’s Country Day school eighth grader from Newport, R.I. won first place in URI’s Gandhi Essay Contest.


URI’s Gandhi Essay Contest recognized its 21 finalists at an award ceremony May 1. Pictured here, from left to right, are the students who attended the ceremony : (front row) Jessica McDonald, Allie Brennan, Julia Sharma-Mathia, Deirdre Irvine, MaryAnn Rompf, Lydia Beal, Victoria Boatwright, Ariana Wynn, Alex Supron and Andrew Binder; (second row) Meghan Smith, Eliana Stein, Haley Pollock, Casey Gannon, Gwendolyn Kalian, Andrew LoPresti, Vanessa Varone and Michael Kodua.


Photos by Michael Salerno Photography.