Student Gabby Martini, inspired by James Monroe Elementary School fire, wins essay contest

The loss of an Edison school to fire inspired one student to write about the experience and earned her a special prize. (6/16/14)

EDISON - The loss of an Edison school to fire inspired one student to write about the experience and earned her a special prize.

James Monroe Elementary School was destroyed by the intense blaze in March. Only the American flag and the school sign remained after the flames were doused.

Kids from around the state wrote about what the American flag means to them for the PNC American Patriot essay contest. The sight of the flag was the basis for fifth-grader Gabby Martini's winning entry.

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"The only thing left standing in front of the building was an American flag on a silver pole and the school sign," she says. "The flag was a symbol of hope and happiness at our school before it burned down. That is what the flag means to me."

Gabby won a plaque, along with a hot air balloon ride with her family and VIP tickets to see Hot Chelle Rae at the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in July.

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