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Monfredo: The Winners of the Historic Museum Valentine’s Day Contest

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Just recently the Worcester Historical Museum held its 38 annual Valentine Contest hosted by William Wallace who continues to do an outstanding job as director of the Museum. The contest was open to all Worcester Schools (public and private) and sixteen schools participated. There were over six hundred entries and eighteen winners were chosen. The contest was for students in grades three to grade six.

At the ceremony attended by an audience of parents, students, educators and community people, Mr. Wallace stated that these winning students have kept a unique tradition alive in our community. Worcester was once the city that made more valentines than any other place in the world.

Before the presentation of the awards the audience was transfixed to learn about Worcester’s role in the history of valentine making as Mr. Wallace showed a brief slide presentation entitled, “When the Heart of the Commonwealth was the Center of the American Valentine-making Industry.” 

He showed the hearts located at City Hall and at Union Station. Mr. Wallace spoke about the myth of Worcester’s Esther Howland, the mother of the American Valentine, but mentioned that it was actually the work and the perseverance of George C. Whitney that would bring about the Worcester’s prominence in being the city of Valentine makers.

The winners were then introduced by the category of their design… First it was HISTORIC and this design was in the style of valentines made in Worcester between the 1840’s and 1942.  The winners were the following students:

•    Grade three …Eliud Vera, from McGrath Elementary
•    Grade four… Francie McMahon,  Thorndyke Road School
•    Grade five…Gabriela Johnson, City View School
•    Grade five … Alex Salerno, Lake View
•    Grade six … Chantelly Pizarro, Grafton Street School

In explaining about the winners designs, Mr. Wallace spoke about their ties into the working of Esther Howard and George Whitney, for one student had a 3D pop out technique, another student used lots of lace and another used a poem in his work.

The next category was COMTEMPORY… an original valentine using designs and non-perishable materials of the maker’s choice.  The winners were the following students:

•    Grade three… Yeiralis Irizarry, from City View School
•    Grade four … Matthew Molle from Worcester Arts Magnet School
•    Grade five … Aylina Espejo from City View School
•    Grade six … Michael Boateng, from Worcester Arts Magnet
•    Grade six … Donovan Wellington, from City View School

As explained by Mr. Wallace these contemporary designs were quite unique.  One had the a 3D valentine of the Queen of Hearts from the book Alice in Wonderland, another the Quiditich broom that Harry Potter would have liked, another had Stanley, one of the main characters in Holes, and a character that cares had a card that showed affection, and another one was inspired by BIG NATE with Nate getting his valentine message across with LUV YA!

Moving on to the next category … VERSE… an original verse by today’s valentine makers made this category special. The winners were as follows:

•    Grade three… Anja Jane LaJoie, from McGrath Elementary
•    Grade four … Melanie Morse, from Burncoat Elementary
•    Grade five… Crystal Abruzzise, from Lake View School
•    Grade six … Sara Gonzalez, from Columbus Park School
•    Grade six … Hannah Shotzberger, from Grafton Street School

These valentines, again, were all different for one poem described just how a valentine should make you feel, another told the story simply using both artw3ork and words, another described Cupid on valentine’s day working from when the “sun starts to shine” until the “stars start to glow,” another had a drawing of the “heart-y lady bug’s message…”would you be my valentine,” and another in the verse tells us that the best valentines are friends who are valentines every day of the year.

The final category was the MASTERS... Students in grades 4, 5, and 6 who have won in previous years must enter the Master’s Competition. These entries were judged by group in each category and not by grade level.

The winners were…

•    HISTORIC ….Riley Driscoll, grade four student at Worcester Arts Magnet … Riley’s valentine used old fashioned paper, lace and flowers in a unique way.  The valentine had a spinner to see if it will be a merchant, laborer, doctor or lawyer or a RICH MAN.
•    CONTEMPORARY …. Nolan Farrell, grade five student at Worcester Arts Magnet… This “Wild Thing” says he’ll eat you up for he loves you so! It’s in his eyes that tell us that he would be a fun and friendly valentine.
•    VERSE…. Carlitos Molina… Grade five student at Worcester Arts Magnet… This valentine encourages us to celebrate Valentine’s Day and to celebrate Worcester and with a Star Wars theme… “May the force be with you!”

The work of these fine students will be on display at the Worcester History Museum until the end of the month.  It’s worth the trip and while you are there take the time to visit other areas of the museum.


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