The Winners 

Congratulations to the winning entrants! There were so many incredible essays it was difficult to choose only one winner per category. For the 6-12 category we decided to have two winners who will both receive the winning prize. 

The following winners are:


6-12 Category:


Restoring Faith in Humanity Amidst the Covid-19 Crisis

     by Sophia Patrice E. Aparre (Grade 12) 





Fear is Here

by Aeron Plania Arador (Grade 11)


  • College Category:



by James Henry Señagan

Tell Your Story Essay Contest

Isaac Newton once said,

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”


Every single person on this planet has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although different in severity, all experiences remain valid. Every single person on this planet has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For every seemingly negative experience always lies a positive outcome. Write a 500-700 word essay about your personal experience during this pandemic, as well as one positive thing this pandemic may bring. 

Top Three Entries In Each Age Group Will Recieve An Online Certificate And Will Be Featured On The Project Ripples Website. THE WINNING ENTRY OF EACH AGE GROUP WILL WIN 100 U.S DOLLARS. 

Judging Panel

Kiera Darnell is a Sophomore at Paul D. Schreiber High School. She is a member of Schreiber’s highly selective Science Research program, where she has studied and tried to come up with solutions to help aquatic organisms combat the effects of the global increase in plastic production and its increasing prevalence in ocean ecosystems. Using this project, she and her partner have competed in research fairs around their area and were successful in shaping a research project and presentation. Kiera is also a competitive gymnast inside and outside of school, and participates in a committee in her town which finds ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle and informs other residents about how they can do the same.

Judge Kiera also has a joint YouTube channel with Judge Olivia. Please subscribe here:

Diana Benedicto-Jimenez is a Sophomore at Paul D. Schreiber High School. Founder of Project Ripples: Recycle2Inspire, whose mission is to help empower underprivileged children through recycling. The gospel of environmental protection should include protection for underprivileged children. They too are part of our living environment. Diana would also like to add that when attempting to summarize herself in a short passage, it becomes an extremely arduous task. She strives to better the human condition through preaching and practice. She was recognized as a Borlaug Scholar for her work in agricultural sciences, working to determine potential solutions to create a more sustainable and eco-friendly future.  

Justin Li joined Project Ripples in November 2019. Justin Li is currently a freshman in high school. He is a president in training for Project Ripples. His desire to help people that are in need has led him to join the effort of Project Ripples. His love for science and his desire to learn has helped him win numerous awards in the Division B Science Olympiad on both the regional and state level. This includes awards in Anatomy and Physiology, Crime Busters, Hovercraft, Density Lab, and Circuit Lab. He has also won many awards in different math competitions, including being ranked 11th in the state in the 7th grade NYML competition which qualified him for a math competition during the month of July.

Lexi Vesselinov is a Sophomore at Paul D. Schreiber High School. She is a member of the double skip math program where she takes math classes two grades ahead of the normal curriculum. She is also a member of her high school's social science research program. Apart from her academic activities, she was part of her school district's WINS tutoring program. Due to the lockdown, she was unable to continue this so she now participates in an online homework help program. She is also a member of the Foreign Language Honor Society as well as Latin Club, Acapella Choir, and Tri-M music honors society. She aims to do her part in not only preserving the environment but aiding the underprivileged on the road to success.  

Tyler Duran joined Project Ripples because of his initiative to care for the Earth as well as aiding children in need. With each bottle he recycles, he knows that one fewer bottle ends up in the environment. As a president in training of Project Ripples, he hopes to spread the word about the mission even more, because we can make a difference. Tyler also attends Paul D.Schreiber High School. He also competed in Science Olympiads (winning several awards) in middle school for three years and is a member of Model United Nations. 

Matthew Pierre-Louis is a sophomore at Paul D. Schreiber High School. He is a member of his school's science research program where he works to develop a device that will capture vehicle emissions to reduce our individual carbon footprints. His extracurricular activities include Robotics, Volleyball, and Snowboarding. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he organized Shield New York, which produced and donated over 600 face shields to healthcare workers. He is a maker and loves to create things. Most of his projects incorporate electronics and mechanical engineering. 

Olivia Platt is a sophomore at Schreiber high school. She competed on the science olympiad team throughout middle school and in freshman year and is now a part of the science research program. She is currently studying the effects of different materials such as chitosan on blood coagulation. she has successfully competed in various competitions with her partner. Olivia also enjoys singing and art. she was an all county-chorus participant for the last 5 years and has won various awards for her art.

Judge Olivia also has a joint YouTube channel with Judge Kiera. Please subscribe here:

Rules and Eligibility

All applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Currently in grades 6-College as of January 2020

  • Entries will be divided into two categories:

    • 6-12 Grad​

    • College

  • There will be one winner from each category as well as a top three for each category​


Write a 500-700 word essay answering these two prompts:

  1. Describe your personal experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. You may include a story of a specific experience, an overview of your experience as a whole, etc. Use your creativity

  2. Explain and elaborate on one positive outcome that this pandemic brought or may bring. Try to be creative. 



Your essay may be organized in any manner you choose as long as it fits the 500-700 word limit. 

Ex. Half your essay may focus on your personal story, while the other half may focus on the positive aspect.

***All essays must be written in English***


Judging Criteria:

All essays will be evaluated with the following criteria:

  • 45% Creativity: Your essay was written and composed in a creative and unique style and manner. 

  • 45% Contents: Your essay included a compelling story and an interesting point of view.

  • 10% Grammar: Your essay included little to no grammatical errors. 

DISCLAIMER: THERE WILL ONLY BE ONE WINNER OF $100 DOLLARS. Our decision of the winning essay will be final.