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Archived News Release from 2003

For Immediate Release

G.R.E.A.T. Essays Win Students Tickets to Giant's Baseball Game, Through Redwood City Police's Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program

Redwood City, CA - May 9, 2003 - For the past two years kids from Redwood City Police Department's Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program have been participating in an essay contest sponsored by the San Francisco Giants and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), as one way of helping kids learn that there are positive alternatives to gang activity. This year, 109 6th graders from Redwood City's Kennedy Middle School submitted essays, and the City is very proud to announce that eight of these students were selected as winners in the essay contest.

These kids came out at the top of a field of hundreds of 6th and 7th grade students from not only Redwood City, but also Foster City, Burlingame, Newark, Stockton, and Sacramento. The City congratulates all the students that participated, and especially the winners! The participants wrote essays of between 250 and 500 words, on one of the following subjects: “One Small Step for Mankind;” “Education All the Way;” and “There's More to Life Than Gangs.” The purpose of these topics was to get kids to think about personal achievement, the value of education, and taking responsibility for their actions. The activity was a valuable lesson for all that participated, and the eight winners from Redwood City get free tickets to a baseball game courtesy of the San Francisco Giants, and even a train ride to the game, courtesy of Caltrain. They are all looking forward to the game on May 15th.

Below are some meaningful quotes from the Redwood City winners' essays:

Keenan Bowser: "Education is a privilege. We should make the most of it by staying in school and being the best students that we can."

Mirna Bresic: "I was born in the country of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Even though I might have had a very violent type life, it doesn't mean that I have to take part in gangs or violence."

Alexandria Allarde: "Without a job you can't support your family, and it all adds up to without education, knowledge, or friends you become a nobody, a zero. You just wasted a lifetime on trash."

Mirna Martinez: "Instead of thinking of it twice, just think once and don't mess up your life by being in a gang."

Natalie Borjon: "There are many tough decisions in life that we all have to make. Education should be one of the easiest decisions to make."

Paola Calderon: "Best friends don't influence you to do drugs."

Gina Molina: "My mother is my role model. She showed me what I could become if I just tried hard enough."

Lia Johnson: "Education is the key to success."

G.R.E.A.T. is a life skills competency program designed to provide students with the skills they need to avoid gang pressure and youth violence. G.R.E.A.T.'s violence prevention curriculum helps students develop beliefs and practice behaviors that will help them avoid destructive behaviors. The national G.R.E.A.T. website is located at

The Redwood City Police Department is an organization of professionals who are dedicated to integrity, customer service, the rights of individuals, and the needs of a constantly changing society. The Department works in partnership with the community to protect life and property, improve our quality of life, reduce crime, and maintain a safe community. Visit the Police Department's website at

Visit Redwood City's website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, City government, and local business.

Officer Todd Hurst
Redwood City Police

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