AND THE WINNERS ARE...
The 6th Annual Volunteer Square Teen Essay Contest, in partnership with Hearst Connecticut Media, has come to a close. We received an overwhelming number of essays from 29 school districts across Connecticut. 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 6th Annual High School Essay Contest Winners.
First Place was awarded to Audrey Molina, a senior at Westhill High School in Stamford. Audrey assumed that she needed to travel far and doing something outrageous to change the world, but through her volunteer work, she realized she could make a very large impact right in her own community. "When I was young, I thought an important life was one that changed the whole world. I figured if I just went to Mars or led a global movement or cured cancer or did some other revolutionary thing, I would matter. As I grew up, though, it became clear that accomplishing these lofty ambitions would be much more difficult than I had anticipated, if not utterly impossible. I realized I wasn’t smart enough to cure cancer, or strong enough to start a movement, or brave enough to go to Mars. I feared that I would have to settle for an insignificant life. Until that is, I started volunteering with the Stamford Public Education Foundation." Read Audrey's full essay here.
1st Place Winner, Audrey Molina with Guidance Counselor, Christine Mitchell
Second Place was awarded to Regina Misercola, a senior at Trumbull High School. This is the second year Regina's essay won second place in the essay contest. She's been volunteering from a very young age she has empowered her peers to give back to their community and focus on a cause close to their hearts, one she talks about it in her essay. "I started volunteering when I was 10. Since then, giving back to my community has become a passion and an integral part of me. This year especially, I have witnessed the power of people -- young people--coming together, fueled by a shared passion, and making an impact on our community by joining forces to give back." Read Regina's full essay here.
2nd place winner, Regina Misercola with Principal Marc Guarino
Third Place was awarded to Aidan Gunn, a sophomore at St. Luke's School in New Canaan. Aidan shares how he was inspired to volunteer at a memory care center following the death of his two grandfathers when he was in middle school."Around the same time as my Grandpas were falling ill, a block away from my house a new building was completed, housing an assisted living and memory care center for the elderly called Maplewood. My parents urged me to go volunteer. I always enjoyed spending time with my grandparents, hearing their stories and learning from them, so I decided to give it a shot. My first day, I was very nervous; however, when I sat down with an elderly woman at lunch, she was so welcoming to me, I realized how lonely she was and how happy she was to have a visitor." Read Aidan's full essay here.
3rd place winner, Aidan Gunn with Director of the Center for Leadership, Kate Parker-Burgard
Congratulations and thank you to the winners for sharing why volunteering and making an impact on your community is important to you!