Far Rockaway student Census Ambassador takes the win in citywide 2020 Census Essay Writing Contest

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Courtesy of HITN

A fourth-grade student in Far Rockaway won first place in the citywide ¡Tú Cuentas! 2020 Census Essay Writing Contest. 

Alyssa Carter from P.S. 197Q wrote about the importance of being counted in the 2020 census in her winning essay titled “The Census,” which has earned her the title of HITN NYC Student Census Ambassador. 

“It’s important to fill out the 2020 census and to count everyone that lives in your household,” Carter said. “It helps us and our communities to get the help and funding that we need — like improving our hospitals, nursing homes and medical agencies.”

As the first-place winner, Carter received a Certificate of Merit presented by Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato along with a trophy, a $200 gift card and a backpack filled with back-to-school essentials.

The ¡Tú Cuentas! 2020 Census Essay Writing Contest was launched by HITN-TV in collaboration with CUNY and Schneps Media to promote citywide census participation among hard-to-count communities and raise awareness about the need for children to be accurately counted.

“When Alyssa learned about all the money the census could bring into our neighborhood, she was excited to be an advocate for her school and community. She wanted to write her essay to encourage family and others to be counted, and to know why,” said Carter’s mother, Kristal Morla.

Also recognized in this year’s contest are second-place winner Ava Ramos of P.S. 380 in Brooklyn and third-place winner Xandre Maldonado of P.S. 20 in Manhattan, who each received a $25 gift card along with a backpack filled with school supplies.

Over 300 fourth-grade students from 15 schools representing all five boroughs submitted entries to the competition.

The students were asked to share their thoughts about why participating in the 2020 census matters for them, their families and their communities. They were also encouraged to learn more about the census and motivate family members to participate. 

“We’re incredibly proud of all the students who participated and used their voices and creativity to bring attention to such a crucial topic for our community,” said Naomi Rivera, executive director of Government Affairs at HITN. “A huge thanks to our wonderful partners at CUNY and Schneps Media, and to the teachers and school administrators who were committed to moving this initiative forward and motivated their students during these very challenging times.”

Rivera also extended her gratitude to the local elected officials who collaborated to help spread the critical message in support of celebrating 38 years as America’s Emmy Nominated Non-Commercial Television Network for Hispanics and an accurate 2020 census count. 

“I am so proud that P.S. 197 in Far Rockaway is represented in this contest, and for developing the next wave of civically engaged young people,” said Amato said. “Our community is consistently undercounted, and the students of P.S. 197 are taking action against that and spreading awareness about the census. It is so crucial to inform and educate our communities about what is at stake and encourage participation to secure access to essential resources and visibility across political, social and economic arenas.”  

The winning essay can be found on the ¡Tú Cuentas! 2020 Census Essay Writing Contest website at https://censusessay.hitn.org/