Speaker honors essay winners

Laurene Diana, left, a seventh grader at DePaolo Middle School was a first place winner in a recent essay contest sponsored by the Speaker of the House, center.

Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D -30) recently recognized six local students from Berlin and Southington who participated in an essay contest sponsored by the state lawmaker.

Aresimowicz asked middle and high school students from Berlin and Southington to submit essays describing their favorite place in their community and why it is significant to them. A winner and two runner-ups were selected from each town.

“I thought for this year’s essay contest, it would be a great opportunity to let the younger generation share which locations in our community mean the most to them,” Aresimowicz said in a press release. “Many of the essays highlighted little-known places I’ve never been to, so it was great to learn about these unique places.”

Aresimowicz said about 130 students had submitted essays for the contest.

Southington’s first place winner was Laurene Diana, a seventh grader at DePaolo Middle School. Laurene’s essay highlighted Southington’s dog park and its ability to bring community members together, and off their electronic devices, while their dogs are able to get the exercise they need.

Sophia Dumas, who is a sophomore at Berlin High School, was Berlin’s first place winner for her essay about American Legion Post 68, where a 1943 U.S deck gun sits.

With both of Sophia’s grandfathers being veterans, the memorial represents her and her family’s appreciation towards veterans and signifies her pride for the town of Berlin and our country.

Other finalists include Berlin’s first runner-up Amelia Andruskiewicz, a seventh grade student who wrote about Dairy Queen, Berlin’s second runner-up Paris Lange, an eighth grade student who wrote about the Berlin High School Track, Southington’s first runner-up Ava Egan, a seventh grade student who wrote about Panthorn Park and Southington’s second runner-up Michael Lester, a seventh grade student who wrote about Veterans Memorial Park.

Aresimowicz met with the two top entry winners at their respective favorite spots in the community so they could show him why the places were so special, and all top entry winners will receive official citations from the Connecticut General Assembly.

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