I have been a pizza fan as long as I can remember. Since discovering I have celiac disease and therefore can’t eat anything made from wheat, rye, barley, malt or oats, I think having to live without pizza is the cruelest upshot of it all. Oh, I can buy gluten-free frozen pizzas from specialty stores, but, believe me, most of those taste lousy at best.
Recently, Frank Buono of Buono’s Authentic Pizzeria contacted me and joyfully reported that he is now serving gluten-free pizza. Yippee! It just doesn’t get any better than that. I plan to go for a taste test in the next few days and will be happy to report back to you with my findings.
Speaking of Buono’s, looks as if Frank has once again sponsored his annual school poetry contest. For 12 years his restaurant has hosted the event in order to inspire students to learn about the culture of Italy and how it has positively influenced our own culture and traditions here in America. Below is information about the contest sent to us on behalf of my new favorite gluten-free pizza maker.
A winning poem titled “Didn’t Know Diddly About Italy” spotlights one of the main purposes for the 12th Annual School Poetry Contest hosted by Buono’s Authentic Pizzeria– to inspire kids to learn about the Italian culture and its positive influence on American culture and traditions. In keeping with this year’s contest theme, “Italy…a Treasure Forever,” the aptly titled poem explained how research led the student to treasure such people and places as Leonardo da Vinci, Christopher Columbus, Nero, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Hundreds of creative poems were submitted by 3rd through 5th and 10th graders from 17 elementary schools and two high schools in Long Beach and San Pedro. Entries were judged by school officials, community leaders, local spoken-word artist Autum Brown, and professional poets, including Dr. Gerald Locklin.
Helping select this year’s Kid’s Choice Award winners was former Buono’s contest winner Patrick Colin. Artwork submissions for the poetry booklet were judged by local graphic designer Greg Covey.
“The students showed a fine sense of musical language and graceful phrasing,” said Locklin, a retired CSULB Professor of English. “I hope they will continue to write poems throughout their lives.”
Poetry and artwork winners were honored in person by Frank Buono during assemblies at the participating schools. Students received the published book of poems, a framed award certificate, and a Buono’s gift certificate. An on-campus pizza party was also planned in the classroom of each first-place poetry winner.
“We are honored to spotlight the creative abilities of so many children as they learn and aspire to reach new heights. While this year’s contest theme focused on Italy as a treasure, we also feel strongly about spotlighting what a precious treasure these children are and how their poetic and artistic talents bring so much joy to those around them,” said Buono’s General Manager/Owner Frank Buono.
Long Beach winners included Hannah Samaniego, a Garfield Elementary School third grader who ranked first at her school and also first in the overall Kid’s Choice category and tied for second in Poet’s Choice. Mason Tran of St. Lucy School tied for second in the overall Poet’s Choice category and first at his school. First-place winner at other Long Beach schools included: Frank Tuala (Burnett Elementary), Sam Tolite (Fremont Elementary), Joshua Quibin (Holy Innocents Catholic School), Amy Uribe (John Muir Academy), and Taylor Marlow (Los Cerritos Elementary).