A panel of independent judges has selected Abigail Barringer, a New Hartford High School senior, as the winner of the annual Give Back to Utica essay contest, earning her a paid summer internship at the Utica Public Library.
The internship is funded through the Give Back to Utica Fund, a donor-advised fund of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties. The fund was created by Steven H. Oram, a former Utica resident and attorney with Oram & Moss, Chartered in Washington, DC.
Barringer was chosen among 91 essay applicants. Essay writers were asked to describe how growing up in the Utica area has shaped their worldview, what their vision for Utica is and how they could give back to the community to make this vision a reality.
“I’ve learned that willingness to understand people from all walks of life will only benefit you,” Barringer wrote in her winning essay. “There are so many different cultures in Utica, and whether its through food, art, traditions, or just observation, there are so many ways to experience it all. Living in this area has taught me that you will meet more people who are different from you than people who are like you but coming together with all of those people is what makes a community.”
When asked what she would like to see Utica become, Barringer responded that she would like to see the city grow.
“I always hear stories about how it used to be such a big city, with a lot of business,” said Barringer. “I would love to see this community enter a new era like that, to become a popular place for people to visit, and a place with more activity.”
Barringer developed her love for learning at an early age, frequently visiting the Hugh R. Jones Elementary School library where her mother is a librarian. As a volunteer at the New Hartford Public Library, Barringer strived to give young readers the same enriching experience she’d enjoyed growing up. Looking forward to her internship this summer at the Utica Public Library, Barringer hopes to keep learning about the many ways local libraries bring the community closer together.
In the fall, Barringer plans to study communications at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.
The Community Foundation, through the Give Back to Utica Fund, is also providing four additional paid summer internships to students at Midtown Community Center (MUCC), The Root Farm, Utica Zoo, and the Young Scholars Liberty Partnership Program.