Rural Awareness Names Franklin Essay Winners

Nine winners of the ninth annual Rural Awareness Scholar Award essay competition in Franklin Township School were recognized at an awards assembly on June 11. Winners were chosen from a field of 99 entries from the third, fourth and fifth grades.


Entrants addressed their essays to Franklin Township students in 2037, describing what they like best about the school life they experience in 2015. Almost to a student, they cited the kindness of the teachers and how much they had taught them. They particularly expressed joy in their elective choices and the STEM program (science, technology, engineering and math). They also speculated about the changes they expect to occur over the next 22 years, all largely based on technological and electronic advances with no books, computers in every desk, and the fantasies of pens that write what you think and driverless school buses.


The year 2037 was selected because it will mark the 200th anniversary of the 1837 one-room schoolhouse on the grounds. The essays, now in a time capsule encased in the school entryway, will be opened in May of that year for the anniversary. The Grand Champion was given a key to the time capsule, but as backup, another key is locked in a trophy case in the school entry. Since the essayists will be in their early 30s when the capsule is opened, it is likely some of them will attend.


Fifth grader Elias Thompson won first place for his grade and was named Grand Champion for the third consecutive year. Lauren Salemo won fifth grade  second place and Christina Piparo, third.


Fourth grade winners are Kaitlyn Meyer, first; Bradley Kneller, second; and Liah Forbes, honorable mention.


Third grade winners are Olivia Luciano, first;  Danielle DiEsso, second; and Thomas Jack ‘TJ’ Mani, honorable mention.


Teachers of the winning students are Dr. Barry Kramer, Janet Prassl, Susan Rainaldi, Tracy Strysky, and Jeff Weinhold.


First place winners received a $50 gift certificate for the Clinton Book Shop, second place winners, a $30 Book Shop gift certificate, and honorable mention, a $10 Book Shop gift certificate.  The Grand Champion also received a $40 gift certificate for a pizza night at Frank’s Italian Restaurant.  All entrants receive a certificate of participation. The Clinton Book Shop and Frank’s Italian Restaurant partner with Rural Awareness each year for the competition.

The nine winning essays will be posted on the Rural Awareness website at

Rural Awareness Scholars for 2015 in Franklin Township, whose essays were selected from 99 entries, are shown in front of the Township’s 1837 one-room schoolhouse that will be 200 years old in 2037. They are (left to right) front row: Olivia Luciano, Danielle DiEsso,  Elias Thompson, Thomas Jack ‘TJ’ Mani, Kaitlyn Meyer, and Bradley Kneller.  Back row: Lauren Salemo, Christina Piparo, and Liah Forbes.

Rural Awareness, Inc. is a non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the historic and rural heritage of Franklin Township.