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Students Describe Their Favorite CT Places to Visit and Why

(Hartford, CT) - June 11, 2003 - The results are in from fourth graders in Connecticut. Their favorite places to visit are: Kent Falls, Strawberry Park Campground in Preston, Lake Compounce, Mohawk Mountain Ski Area and Lyman Orchards in Middlefield. According to the five top winners in this year's Connecticut Essay Contest, these are the most fun, peaceful and inspiring places in the state. According to the contest judges, they are the places best expressed by young writers in Connecticut today.

During an awards ceremony at the State Capitol today, the Connecticut Office of Tourism and the Office of the Secretary of the State recognized 25 fourth graders for their writing skills in this year's 9th Annual Connecticut Essay Contest. The contest, co-sponsored by the two agencies, challenged fourth grade students from elementary schools statewide to explore and report on unique or favorite places to visit in Connecticut. The ceremony also featured an appearance by Suzy Kline, a Connecticut author well-known for the Horrible Harry children's book series.

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Ed Dombroskas, executive director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, Department of Economic and Community Development recognized the winners. Students statewide submitted essays on the topic: Describe your favorite place in Connecticut, and why you would recommend it to a visitor.

"The annual essay contest is an excellent way for students to put their thoughts in writing and share their discoveries about Connecticut with others," said Mr. Dombroskas before dubbing all 25 students honorary Ambassadors of Tourism and thanking parents and teachers for supporting children's growth and education.

"There's a tremendous amount of state pride that students express in their essays, and when young people are engaged in their communities, they begin to develop a sense of citizenship that strengthens families and communities. We are delighted to be an annual co-sponsor of this program because we've seen how much it inspires children to continue writing and discovering new places in Connecticut," said Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.

Winning essays in five divisions explored a wide range of personal discoveries, from historical and cultural heritage to observations on nature and state parks in Connecticut. Lauren Hutchinson, a first place winner and student at Mill Ridge Intermediate School in Danbury, described how Kent Falls took her breath away the first time she saw it - and how exciting it is to climb the falls on stone steps built into the rock.

Sara Ghavidel, a first place winner from Greenwich Catholic School, examined the definition of a family and suggested that the solution to keeping families together is simple.

"To me, camping is the solution. Camping unites families together," she wrote in her essay on Strawberry Park Campground in Preston. "…Camping allows families to spend a lot more time together at very lost cost."

Winners received award certificates and "Full of Surprises" bags that included an array of admission tickets and souvenirs from state attractions. In addition, each student received copies of guest author Suzy Kline's book Horrible Harry Goes to Sea, a book set in Essex, Connecticut, that she autographed at the end of the ceremony. Essays of the top five winners will be posted on the Office of Tourism's website, www.ctbound.org in the 4-kids section, as well as on the ConneCTkids website, www.kids.state.ct.us.

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Editor's Note: 

  • A complete list of winners, their schools and towns is attached to the release. 
  • Copies of the essays are available upon request. 
  • Photographs of the 25 finalists will be available a few days following the event.


Ed Dombroskas, Office of Tourism 860-270-8075
Tammy Marzik, Office of the Secretary of the State 860-509-6269
Kathleen Goffa, MD&C, Inc. 203-624-4151, ext. 30


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