Franklin Square student wins TD Bank “Take a Duck to Class” contest

(Franklin Square, N.Y., Jan. 28, 2019) – The Long Island Ducks kicked off their week with a TD Bank “Take a Duck to Class” visit at Willow Road Elementary School. Michael Zeppieri, a fourth grade student at the school, was recognized for writing a winning essay in the annual contest.

Michael penned an outstanding essay regarding his school teacher, Mrs. Michelle Lepe, and why she is a “hero in his community.” Fourth grade students from the school, including Mrs. Lepe’s class, attended a morning assembly on Monday to congratulate Michael and hear him read the essay aloud.

“Everyone at one point in time has looked up to a superhero,” wrote Michael. “A hero, however, can be found anywhere around you. My hero is my teacher, Mrs. Lepe. She uses many different strategies so that all of us are able to feel successful.”

He went on to note that, “She has also set aside time in the morning to get to know every one of us. She inspires us to never give up on our dreams because we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.”

Michael was presented with several prizes for writing a winning essay. Eric Fishon, TD Bank Vice President of U.S. Field Marketing Strategy, and Melissa Cunha, TD Bank Valley Stream Store Manager/Vice President, awarded him with a $50 gift card and spoke to the students about the importance of teachers. The Ducks presented Michael with a ticket voucher for the team’s Opening Weekend Fireworks game on May 4th, so that he can enjoy a fun night at the ballpark with his family.

Ducks mascot, QuackerJack, also visited the school and congratulated Michael on a job well done. QJ hung out in Michael’s classroom and signed autographs for all of Mrs. Lepe’s class. In addition, each of the students received special gift bags, courtesy of TD Bank, as part of the festivities.

TD Bank “Take a Duck to Class” contestants were able fill out applications on during the fall and submit an essay of 250 words or less on the theme “Who is a hero in your community and why”. Four lucky winners were selected from an entry pool that included thousands of essays. Each winner receives an hour-long visit to their school from QuackerJack and the Ducks as well as a gift card from TD Bank.

The Ducks will wrap up this year’s TD Bank “Take a Duck to Class” essay contest visits in February when they visit Dylan Wagner, a fifth grade student at Forest Avenue Elementary School in West Babylon.

The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and play their home games at Bethpage Ballpark. For further information, call (631) 940-DUCK or visit