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Vernon Student's Poem Wins 1K for School

James H. Vernon School 4th grade student Ella Kopacz won $1,000 for her school and $500 for college when she took first place in’s first-ever Limitless Learners Contest. The contest encourages K-5 students to think creatively about what education means to them by using artwork, writing and language skills to convey their ideas.


Ella took the top spot for the 4th-grade category after submitting her poem, The Wax Museum, in response to the contest’s question, “When was a time you were having so much fun, you didn’t realize you were learning something new?”


Ella, who said writing is one of her favorite subjects, expressed her excitement about the wax museum project that she participated in last year when she was in third grade. Students dress as a biographical “wax” figure in history, sports or entertainment and stand “frozen” on display until a visitor pushes their “start” button. At which time, the figures “come to life” and orate their biographies.   



Ella said she entered the contest on her own after learning about it at the Oyster Bay Public Library. “I thought is would be a lot of fun,” she said. When her mother, Michele, shared an email from the organization stating that she won first place, she said, “I felt really happy and wanted to scream but my brother and sister were in bed.”


Vernon School Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio said, “Ella is a very talented student and we are very proud that she took the initiative to enter the contest and that she decided to donate the money to help her school.”


According to the contest’s rules and guidelines, winners have a choice of donating their prize to their school or their library. Additionally, a winner from each grade level (K-5) is also chosen to receive $500 for college and a free lifetime subscription to for their parent or educator.


Ella, who participates in her school’s enrichment program, Atlantis, hopes the money could be used to help supplement “some really cool” supplies and resources for the program. provides parents and educators with educational resources for students in preK-grade 5. Its mission is “to remove all limits to learning by strengthening the core skills that children need to succeed,” according to its website.


The Wax Museum by Ella Kopacz – 4th Grade


School projects fun, fun, fun                                       Ella and Dr. Vacchio

The Wax Museum the best one!

Everyone come one come all,

The wax museum has it all.

Seeing classmates dress up and talk

I didn’t want it to stop.

So much to learn and people to meet,

Who will be the next one to greet?

The first woman to cross the Atlantic in 1928,

Amelia Airhart is here, isn’t that great!

Derek Jeter the baseball star,

So many famous people you don’t have to look far.

President Theodore Roosevelt from Sagamore Hill,                 Ella displays her poem with Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio

The founder of Microsoft, his name is Bill.

Historical figures, favorite sport stars,

Oh Yes! The Wax Museum my favorite by far!