By Alan Burke
---- — PEABODY — The spirit of George Peabody still motivates some of the city’s youngest residents.
Five of them appeared before the School Committee last Tuesday as winners of the 24th annual essay contest for third-graders sponsored by the George Peabody House Museum. All of the essayists announced their dedication to the charitable impulses of the city’s 19th-century namesake and benefactor.
“I want to be a great philanthropist,” said West School student Alexandra Grillo, who won honorable mention, “so I can make the world a better place.”
She was one of several students who read their essays.
“I would help build schools, libraries and colleges,” said Benjamin McKiernan of Center School.
The essays answered the question: “George Peabody was a great philanthropist who used his money to build schools, libraries and museums. If you were a philanthropist, how would you use your money to help the world?”
McKiernan was the first-place winner, followed by Natalie Kuchar of Welch School and Alexa Demakis of West School. Grillo and Jack Westin of St. John the Baptist School won honorable mention.
The winner received $100 deposited in the bank, the runners-up slightly less, according to Bill Power of the Historical Society, one of the organizers.