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When The News asked readers to nominate the most influential Western New Yorkers of the past century, we got some terrific candidates -- mothers, grandmothers, the principal, God, Doug Flutie, the mayor -- from kids at the Frank Sedita Academy on Buffalo's West Side.

Here are some of the nominees picked by these fifth to eighth graders as "the person who most influenced me or Western New York."

Cecilia Rodriguez nominated the Rev. Lou Guadagno of Old Time Baptist Church in Hamburg.

"He preaches at jails to help people stay out of trouble. When he preaches he makes everyone feel special."

James Mook nominated his aunt.

"My aunt has five kids and a husband but still has time for me. She can be asleep at 10 o'clock at night and I can call her and she will talk to me. There (have) been plenty of times I felt like giving up but I just look and she will be smiling a big happy smile. I just love her to death."

Stacie Carroll nominated her mom:

"She is the one who has always been there for me...I could talk to her about anything without her getting mad and without her telling anybody."

Jelisa Grayson nominated the cops:

"The police have changed my neighborhood by putting all of the bad people behind bars. Before, our neighborhood was a very, very bad neighborhood to live in. Many houses were being robbed. There were crackheads all over the street. My neighborhood is pretty good now. Thanks to the police."

One girl nominated her grandma:

"Because when my mom was out running around my grandmother took me and my brothers in. She tries her best to help my mom get off drugs and if I could say two things they would be I love her and I appreciate what she's done for me."

Nikki Mobmay picked Mayor Masiello:

"He provided rakes and other materials that we needed to clean and help our community. After we cleaned the park we sat down and we ate our lunch."

Uve Baez nominated her mom.

"She taught me to take care of myself and my little sister. She showed me never to use drugs, smoke or drink because of the damage it would do to me. Also she is the most lovable, squeezable person I've ever seen. If she were alive I would tell her how much she meant to me and how much I love her."

Andre Benitez chose Doug Flutie:

"He's a little man with a big heart on and off the field."

Jasmin Wilson picked DARE Officer Vicky Smith:

"She taught me to stay away from drugs and violence. I once wanted to fight a girl but Officer Smith told me to talk to her and ask her why she wants to fight me. Now we are best friends."

Albert Ojeda Jr. nominated gym teacher Ronald Leiser:

"He teaches us how to dive, swim on top of water and swim under water too! He is tall, nice and has a good personality."

Angel Cotton picked her big sister:

"She sets a good example for me by what she does which is going to church and having a job. She takes me to the mall. The things that she buys me are clothes and shoes. My sister helps me to be a better person."

Dominique Shelton named her mom:

"She was always nice to me and that's how I could tell she loved me. She was also funny. If I could talk to her now, I would say 'thank you' for all the love shown and memories."

Evan Little nominated his dad:

"When I wasn't feeling very well about myself my father would come and talk to me. He respects my dreams and wants."

Julian Burnett nominated his grandmother.

"My grandma loves me so much and I love her. I have been living with her all my life and I don't want to stop."

David Burnett nominated God.

"He helped my mom get a job and my grandmother stay alive. When I wake up in the morning He helps me get to school and church on time."

Dominic Daniels nominated his mom:

"The only reason why I want to go to the college of my choice is because my mom and dad taught me to get a good education."

Daphne A. thanks her aunt:

"Because she was there when I was down."

Dominique Johnson nominated Shirley Chisolm, the first black woman elected to the House of Representatives, as "an inspiration to young women everywhere."

Reginald Johnson nominated his uncle, Namon Barlow, a Buffalo police officer:

"He is smart and is able to do many things. He gives me an image of what I want to be like when I grow up."

Ashley Shotwell nominated her principal, Letizia Conrad:

"She is a good principal but she sure is tough! Some people might not appreciate her now for putting them in detention. She does that for not doing your work or being bad, and she makes them do their work. They will thank her!

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