Evans Wins For Senior Essay


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Coni Evans was named one of four winners of the 2024 Essex County Senior Citizen Legacies Writing Contest during an awards luncheon at the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center in Essex County Branch Brook Park in Newark on Thursday, May 23. The Legacies Writing Contest encourages Essex senior citizens to write essays about the people and events that have influenced their lives.

“Our Senior Citizen Legacies Writing Contest is a unique way for our older population to share their life’s stories and describe the people and events that helped to shape their lives,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. “Our seniors’ stories make you laugh and touch your heart. They provide us with a different perspective on historical events and what our society was like.”

Evans (above center) won for her essay “The Sit In.” When Evans was a junior in high school in 1969, the students organized a sit in to protest the existing dress code. Female students wanted to wear pants and male students wanted to grow their hair longer. So, on September 15, a group of 25 students walked out of the school building during lunch and sat in front of the school. The principal became enraged, but Evans wrote that their parents were never notified, and they did not get into any trouble. On the third day, the principal came out and, without any explanation, told the group that the policy would be changed. “I spent the last two years of high school sitting at my desk quite comfortably in my bell bottom jeans,” she writes.

Evans is an active volunteer with the Woman’s Club of Verona. She previously won the senior writing contest in 2021 with her story “The Silence.”

The other winners were Carol T. Jenkins from East Orange who wrote “Allen & Emily,” Glenda R. Mattox of East Orange who wrote “Resting in Fairmount” and Clarence Boseman from Orange who wrote “West Kinney Jr. High School.”

Receiving honorable mentions were Eva M. Ogens from Caldwell who wrote “The Moment of No Return,” Mary Louri Bartola from West Orange who wrote “May Father’s Hands: Crafting a Lifetime of Love,” Pamela Gaston from Maplewood who wrote “My Journey Up from Down the Way” and Catherine Stamm from Nutley who wrote “The Formica Table.” Stamm’s story also was chosen as the Director’s Pick.

Sponsored by the Essex County Division of Senior Services, the Legacies Writing Contest was started in 1996 and was part of a national contest which encouraged senior citizens to discover the joys of writing while sharing their stories with others. Although the national contest was discontinued in 1998, the Essex County Division of Senior Services continued to sponsor the Legacies Writing Contest on a local level. Entries are judged on the writer’s ability to engage the reader with humor, emotional impact or rich descriptions. Winning stories were selected by a committee of volunteer judges and staff from the Essex County Division of Senior Services.

The Essex County Division of Senior Services offers a wide range of services to eligible Essex County senior citizens. The Division offers adult protective services, provides basic transportation services, administers adult day care centers, offers counseling services for caregivers, provides home delivered meals and offers visiting nurse services. For more information, please call 973-395-8375.

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