Avon girl wins week of surf lessons in essay contest

Gemma Francello pictured with founder and creative director of Summertime Surf, Shaun McGrath [from left to right], Eileen MacDonald and Kathy Kulthau of Avon Elementary School. COURTESY OF SHAWNA HASHEMI

AVON-BY-THE-SEA — Summertime Surf awarded a week of surf lessons to two winners of the seventh annual essay contest. 

Avon Elementary School third-grader, Gemma Francello, and St. Catharine School fifth-grader, Maria Bennett, both won a week of surf camp for the essays and artwork they submitted to Summertime Surf. 

Summertime Surf is a surf school that was founded in 2006 by Shaun McGrath, according to its website. The organization teaches the art of surfing in four locations: Asbury Park, Belmar, Bradley Beach and Point Pleasant. They also teach stand up paddle lessons on the Manasquan River. 

Mark Gilmartin, operations director, said the organization wants to provide children with positive role models and a positive influence. “A large part of our focus is on our kids surf camps and just influencing the next generation of kids from our area.”

The topic of the essay contest this year was: What is one thing you can do this summer to help keep our oceans and beaches clean?

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