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State's Student Ambassadors of Tourism Name Burr Pond, Yale University, Bigelow Hollow Among Their Favorite Places to Visit

(Hartford, CT) - May 25, 2004 - The results are in from fourth graders in Connecticut! Their favorite places to visit in 2004 are: The Silvermine Tavern (Norwalk), Mianus River Park (Greenwich/Stamford), Bigelow Hollow (Union), Quassy Amusement Park (Middlebury), and Yale University (New Haven).

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 Mark Twain Museum Center today, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism and the Office of the Secretary of the State recognized 25 fourth graders for their writing skills in this year's 10th Annual Connecticut Essay Contest.

Co-sponsored by the two agencies, the contest 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 guest author and First Lady Patricia Rowland, whose children's book, Marvelous Max, The Mansion Mouse, was recently published. The book, illustrated by Wendy Rasmussen, is about the adventures and new found friendship between Max and a young boy named Tim, during moving-in day at the Governor's mansion.

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Jennifer Aniskovich, Executive Director of the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, 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's great cultural and tourism activities with others," said Patricia Rowland, before dubbing all 25 students honorary Ambassadors of Tourism. "The thanks really goes to parents and teachers for supporting children's growth and education through reading and writing."

"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. Anne Troy, a first place writer and student at Greenwich Catholic in Greenwich, described how much she enjoys hiking while spending time with her family at Mianus River Park, an amazing place to her in every season of the year.

Taylor Owen, a first place writer from the Samuel Staples School in Easton explained why everyone should visit Yale University in New Haven.

"I recommend you go because it is one of the best colleges in the state. It's so good about 11,250 students attend Yale," he said, adding that "it's loaded with old statues of scholars and the architecture of each building is breathtaking."

Moriah Rose Maresh, a first place writer from St. Bernard School in Vernon, wrote about Bigelow Hollow State Park in Union, CT.

"I would recommend this place to someone visiting our state because it is a place to be free," she said.

Second place writer Joseph DePaola of St. Francis of Assisi School in Naugatuck wrote about Burr Pond in Torrington.

"I recommend you come to Burr Pond because you will feel like you are in the Caribbean," he wrote. "Sitting in the sun helps you get your troubles away."

Winners received award certificates and "Full of Surprises" bags that included an array of admission tickets and souvenirs donated from state attractions and companies. In addition, each student received an autographed copy of Patricia Rowland's book, Marvelous Max the Mansion Mouse.

Essays of the top five winners will be posted on the Division 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:


Edward Dombroskas, CT Tourism Division, 860-270-8075
Larry Perosino, Office of the Secretary of the State, 860-509-6259
Kathleen Goffa, MD&C, 203-624-4151 ext. 30


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