The 5th Annual Volunteer Square Essay Contest, in partnership with Hearst Connecticut Media, has come to a close. This year's contest was a record breaker. We received 118 submissions from 27 schools across Connecticut, making it the most competitive contest to date! The essays submitted truly represented how volunteering impacts the lives of teenagers in Connecticut.
Thank you to everyone that submitted an essay and to all that helped us promote this year's contest. Special thanks to our partners at Hearst Connecticut Media and to the Volunteer Square Advisory Board for reading every essay and helping us award the winners.
And now, without further ado, we are thrilled to announce the 5th Annual High School Essay Contest Winners.
First Place was awarded to Reva Kale, a junior at Staples High School in Westport. Reva compares her volunteer work to learning how to read and shares how it taught her about herself. "I will always remember the feeling of my first book. My first true book. One I cracked open and deciphered on my own, one that enticed me, amazed me, electrified me from start to finish. The minute I learned to read, I was gifted with a set of keys to a whole new world bound only by my imagination. Volunteering, like reading, gave me an extremely valuable set of keys." Read Reva's full essay here.
Second Place was awarded to Regina Misercola, a junior at Trumbull High School. Regina'sessay talked her the project she created to bring her community together after the loss of her cross country coach's young daughter. "I began volunteering in middle school, yet I value my most recent project the most. In March 2017, my track and cross country coach’s six-year-old daughter, Mia, passed away from parameningeal rhabdomyosarcoma, an extremely rare form of pediatric cancer. Her death was devastating. My entire team and community felt like we lost a light. I had to do something and decided to turn my emotions into action." Read Regina's full essay here.
Third Place was awarded to Nicole Arellano, a senior at Staples High School in Westport. Nicole talks about training to become an EMT in her essays. "Being on the ambulance at first intimidated me. It suddenly wasn’t lectures and simulations; people’s lives were in my hands. Was I really cut out for this? The anxiety nearly turned me away from following through, but I remembered my endgame. Even if I can make someone smile, I’m doing something meaningful." Read Nicole's full essay here.
Congratulations and thank you to the winners for sharing why volunteering and making an impact on your community is important to you!