society honors

JOHN MICHAEL MIKOLAICYK STANDS next to his prize-winning project titled ‘57 Dietz Street’ on Monday at the Greater Oneonta Historical Society in downtown Oneonta.

ONEONTA _ A local fourthgrader’s interest in his house became an award-winning history report.

John Michael Mikolaicyk, 10, took first place in the sixth annual Sally Mullen Local History Awards presented Monday night at the Greater Oneonta Historical Society downtown.

This year’s theme was ``Everything has a story ... if this building could talk,’’ and John Michael picked ``57 Dietz Street.’’

``I live there,’’ he said. ``It’s cool.’’

The award is given in memory of Sally Mullen, a librarian at Center Street Elementary School and history enthusiast who was a driving force behind the acquisition of the GOHS building at 183 Main St., presenters said.

First place carries a $75 award; second place, $50; and third place, $25.

Kate Kano-White won second place for ``Oldest Mill in Town,’’ and Mary M. Watson won third place for ``St. Mary’s School: Edifice of Education.’’

Honorable mention citations were given to Akiva Garfield for ``The Oneonta Hotel,’’ to Gabriel Fuller for ``The Homer Folks Tuberculosis Hospital’’ and Kyle Kurkowski for the best display in his ``Old Main’’ project. The program is for fourth-graders.

Mary and Gabriel attend St. Mary’s School, and the other students attend Center Street Elementary School.

``This project is a wonderful way to introduce young people to this community and its history,’’ Leonard Pudelka, GOHS historian and chairman of the society’s Education Committee, said before announcing the awards.

John Michael said the house at 57 Dietz St. was built in 1895 and at one time had a doctor’s office. George E. Moore was the first owner, and the Mikolaicyk family is the eighth family to live in the house, he said. John Michael conducted research through books and an interview with the previous owner, Robert Seng.

John Michael is the son of John and Joyce Mikolaicyk, who were smiling Monday night. All the projects were ``very good,’’ the senior Mikolaicyk said, and his son’s award was unexpected.

``I’m awfully proud of him,’’ he said.

This year, 13 entries were considered.

The GOHS Education Committee members decided on awards, and member Linda Syvertsen said the decision was ``very difficult.’’

Students were required to write a three-page paper with a bibliography and to use good grammar, she said.

Students placing or receiving an honorable mention read from their papers Monday night to applause from an audience of about 50 people, including educators, GOHS members, pupils and parents.

John Michael said he was surprised and ``jittery’’ upon hearing that his project won first place. His parents said they took him Monday to spend his prize money on a pair of baseball cleats.

IF YOU HAVE GOOD NEWS you’d like to share, call Associate Managing Editor Emily Popek at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 217; fax her at 432-5707; e-mail her at epopek@thedailystar. com; or write to her at P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820.

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