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STUDENT WINNERS OF 2005 STATEWIDE ESSAY CONTEST HONORED FOR PROMOTING CONNECTICUT
Fourth Graders Cite Thimble Islands, New Haven Green and Mashantucket Pequot Museum Among Recommended Places to Visit

HARTFORD, Conn. (June 2, 2005) - Twenty-five fourth graders from across the state are being honored today for their tourism writing skills. As winners of the 11th Annual Connecticut Essay Contest, the students are attending a gala awards ceremony from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Connecticut Historical Society Museum in Hartford. The event will be hosted by The Honorable Secretary of the State, Susan Bysiewicz, and Jennifer Aniskovich, executive director of the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism.

Of the 25 2005 winners named, five will receive special recognition as first place winners, each reading her essay aloud at the event. All honorees will receive award certificates and gift bags.

The annual Essay Contest is co-sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of the State and the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, and is open to fourth grade students throughout the state. Students were challenged to identify unique or special places to visit in Connecticut, and submit an essay on the topic: Describe your favorite place in Connecticut, and why you would recommend it to a visitor.

"This essay contest was established eleven years ago to stimulate pride in our state, while encouraging our young students' creative writing skills," said Bysiewicz. "It is my hope that participation in events such as the essay contest is simply the beginning of a lifelong involvement by these students in their community and state." 

"Connecticut schoolchildren offer a wonderful perspective on fun and interesting places in Connecticut," said Aniskovich, before dubbing all 25 students honorary Ambassadors of Tourism. "It's refreshing to look at exploration through their eyes. Their enthusiasm and sincerity about what they enjoy here in the state make them fantastic young ambassadors for Connecticut, and we are proud to honor such a talented and imaginative group of students."

"But we mustn't forget to recognize the efforts of parents and teachers who have encouraged students' desire to discover Connecticut, and therefore, by extension, are themselves Ambassadors of Tourism. These parents and teachers truly deserve our thanks for inspiring another generation of young authors. It is their support of children's growth and education through reading, writing and exploring that will continue to connect our young writers to cultural and historic sites, museums, theaters, and everything our great state has to offer."

According to the five first-place winners in this year's competition, Rose's Berry Farm (South Glastonbury), the Mashantucket Pequot Museum (Ledyard), Seaside Park (Bridgeport), The New Haven Green and the Thimble Islands (Branford) represent the most entertaining, peaceful and inspiring places in the state.

First-place winner and student at Quaker Hill School in Quaker Hill, Brittnie Stoy, explained why everyone should visit the Mashantucket Pequot Museum in Ledyard. "A good time to go to the ice age village might be in the summer on a tremendously hot day" she said. "If you go there in the summer and you are very hot, I am sure the ice age will cool you off."

Hannah Medovnikov, a first-place winner from Ezra Academy in Woodbridge, wrote about the New Haven Green: "The feeling of the Green changes every time you go there. It is a magical place of places you never knew existed."

Samantha Weber, a student at Gildersleeve School in Portland who placed first in her division, had this to say about Rose's Berry Farm in South Glastonbury: "Rose's Sunday breakfast has the most amazing waffles and pancakes, all served with the best seasonal fruit toppings you've ever had. Just imagine sitting on a deck and enjoying the gentle summer breeze along with your delicious breakfast! I love to bring friends and family who have never been and watch their amazement with the delicious and beautiful Breakfast With A View! It's Connecticut at its Berry Best!"

Another first-place writer, Jacqueline Rizzitelli, a fourth-grader at St. Catherine of Siena in Trumbull, won for her essay on Seaside Park in Bridgeport. "The most wonderful thing about being at Seaside Park is looking at the beautiful water and beautiful blue sky from my sandy towel on the beach. I think it's the best place to be on a hot summer day," she said.

Branford's Thimble Islands were the subject of Lindsey Bull's first-place essay. A student at Sarah Nobel Intermediate School in New Milford, Lindsey explained why the Islands fascinate her. "Depending on what you call an island, there are between 100 and 365 islands that make up the Thimble Islands. Only 12 of the islands are inhabited. If you wanted to, you could visit one island a day for a whole year!"

Essays authored by the five first-place winners will be posted on the Tourism Division website, www.CTvisit.com in the "For Kids" section, as well as on the ConneCTkids website, www.kids.state.ct.us.

The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism brings together tourism, film, history and the arts. Its mission is to preserve and promote Connecticut's cultural and tourism assets in order to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of the state. The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism is located at One Financial Plaza, 755 Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut, 06103.

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