4th Annual G.R.E.A.T. Night With the San Francisco Giants
The 4th annual G.R.E.A.T. Night With the San Francisco Giants took place Friday,
May 6, 2005. Each year the San Francisco Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives and the San Francisco Giants sponsor an essay contest. The
contest is one way of helping students learn that there are positive alternatives
to gang activity. This year, over 1,200 6th and 7th graders from more than 15 schools
in Redwood City, Foster City, Newark, Oakland, Richmond, Sacramento, San Francisco,
and unincorporated areas of San Mateo County participated in the contest. For many,
this is a first-time opportunity to see their role models in action and to see and
experience firsthand alternatives to gang activity or violence.
Sixth grader Naomi Lieb of Redwood City's Kennedy Middle School was selected as
the overall grand prize winner. Naomi wrote a compelling, inspiring essay, sharing
personal experiences, about why education is so important to her and the difference
it can make in a young person's life and ability to be strong and successful, even
when faced with tremendous adversity. She was honored by the San Francisco Giants
at home plate on May 6 during a pregame ceremony. The first and second runners-up
were 6th grader Chrysa Perakis, Bowditch Middle School, Foster City, and 7th grader
Yesenia Mendez, Pescadero Middle School, Pescadero.
In all, 72 students were on the field as finalists in the contest.
The students wrote short essays on one of the following subjects: "One Small Step
for Mankind," "Education All the Way," and "There's More to Life Than Gangs." The
purpose of these topics was to get kids to think about personal achievement, the
value of education, and taking responsibility for their actions.
Here are some meaningful quotes from the students' winning essays:
- "Y'all would skip school to play with guns, come on that ain't fun, y'all might
die, O come to me and cry."
- "My mom says, 'How can we find peace in our world, if we can't find it in our children's
- "If you think school is too hard, don't drop out, ask for help."
- "Education is the best anti-gang defense."