Greek Girl Wins Mother's Day Essay Contest Prize

The National Herald Archive

Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein is pictured with (left to right) Marilena Korahais, 3rd Grade Grand Prize Winner; Isabella Andrea Cortes, 5th Grade Grand Prize Winner; Isabella Delvey, 4th Grade Grand Prize Winner; and Allison Kim 2nd Grade Grand Prize Winner. Photo: Courtesy of Assemblymember Braunstein

NEW YORK – New York State Assemblymember Edward C. Braunstein announced the winners of his annual Mother's Day Essay Contest for students in grades two through five on June 10.

The 2nd Grade Grand Prize Award went to Allison Kim of Bayside, 3rd Grade Grand Prize Award to Marilena Korahais of Whitestone, 4th Grade Grand Prize Award to Isabella Delvey of Auburndale, and 5th Grade Grand Prize Award to Isabella Andrea Cortes also of Auburndale.

“Congratulations to all of the winners. Nearly 200 students from schools throughout Queens participated in my office’s Mother's Day Essay Contest and I was extremely impressed with their creative and heartfelt entries,” said Assemblymember Braunstein.

All winners received a gift card and all participants received a New York State Assembly Certificate of Merit.

Marilena Korahais' essay follows:

Helen Keller said, “All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”

My mother’s mother, my yaya, passed away when I was 6 years old but she is a part of my mother and she still in many ways is with us now that I am turning 9 in one week. I think what makes my mother so special is that she tries so hard to keep our culture alive, passing on traditions like dyeing eggs red on Easter, teaching us  Greek stories and songs, making meatballs with mint, and telling me stories about what she did when she was a child.

Sometimes I hear stories my yaya told her about growing up in a small village in Greece. And once in a while, when I am lucky, I hear the stories of my great-grandmother, my yaya’s mother who sacrificed a lot to come to America. I ask for these stories night after night and I can see where I came from and what makes my family special. The women in my family were smart and strong and brave and I love that my mother passes on to me as much as she can because it teaches me who I am. My mother talks to me a lot about everything and I am a part of her like my yaya is a part of both of us.

It is more obvious in my case because my name is Marilena, a mix of Maria, my great grandmother who was a seamstress and Eleni, my yaya, who made me soups, bought me Kit-Kats and would never miss my birthday. Even now.  Because all that we love becomes a part of us.