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American Flag Means Dream Come True For Korean Orphan

June 23, 2015

TOMS RIVER GIRL WINS RIDE AT BALLOON FESTIVAL; HEARTFELT ESSAY IS BEST IN THE STATE TOMS RIVER, NJ — For Hannah Faruolo, the first time she saw the American flag is one she will never forget. Writing about it is sure to be lifetime memory, too. The fourth grade student from Cedar Grove Elementary School in Toms River, NJ, received a visit at school from a 75-foot-tall hot air balloon in front of her family and 792 schoolmates on Wednesday, June 17 as the Grand Prize winner of the 12th annual PNC Bank American Patriot Essay Contest, a statewide competition with the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in which school children wrote about “What the American Flag Means to Me.” The visit to school by the balloon was provided by the festival and PNC Bank.   Born in Korea and living in an orphanage until she was six years old, Hannah’s winning essay was about how seeing the stars on the American flag meant her dream of having a family was coming true because she had wished upon them. Getting off the airplane in the United States, she remembers seeing the stars and stripes and felt that she had arrived in her new home.   The contest was held as part of PNC’s community outreach efforts through its association with the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning. Hannah also received VIP tickets to next month’s 33rd annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank in Readington, NJ, July 24-25-26, 2015, where she will go up, up and away on a hot air balloon amid 100 other hot air balloons from around the world. Her principal, teacher, and 23 immediate classmates were also given complimentary admission tickets to the Festival. Now in its 12th year, the PNC Bank American Patriot Essay Contest asks New Jersey students in grades 2-12 to submit an essay on “What the American Flag Means to Me.” The winners were chosen by a panel of judges comprised of PNC and Balloon Festival staff and educators. Sabrina Fabara, a fifth grade student from School 7 in Belleville, took second place. Taylor Fallon, a fifth grade student from School 1 in Little Falls, was awarded third place. They will each receive tickets to the Festival. Thousands of essays were received statewide. “Hannah’s essay truly rose above all others,” said Festival Executive Producer Howard Freeman. “It was extremely heartfelt and best captured the spirit of both the contest and American flag, which for her meant coming to a new family and a new home as an American. QuickChek, PNC and the festival are proud to present her with her award.” ### MEDIA CONTACT: Russ Mensch Mensch & Company, Inc. Public Relations & Event Marketing phone: 201-797-2448 email: [email protected]