The 8th Annual Volunteer Square Teen Essay Contest, in partnership with the Patch, has come to a close. We received essays from 75 students in 35 high schools across Connecticut this year, truly an overwhelming response this year. The essays submitted truly represented how volunteering impacts the lives of teenagers in Connecticut. The essays were well written, thoughtful, and gave the reader a glimpse into the important volunteer work the students participate in.
We want to thank everyone that submitted an essay and to all that helped us promote this year's contest. Special thanks to our partners at Patch and to the Volunteer Square Board of Directors and Advisory Board for reading every essay and helping choose the winners.
And now, without further ado, we are thrilled to announce the 8th Annual High School Essay Contest Winners.
First Place was awarded to Michael Bellacicco, a senior at Westhill High School in Stamford. Michael's essay shares his journey of volunteering at a nursing home and how the relationships he's built are the most important part of his experience. "In my experiences, I have realized that I am not only impacting others, but they are also impacting me. I would have never imagined that I would have a friend who could recall her experience of Pearl Harbor. My experience at the nursing home went from fulfilling a requirement for volunteer hours, to a life altering experience. " Read Michaels's full essay HERE.
Second Place was awarded to Harper Treschuck, a junior at Fairfield Ludlowe High School. Harpers's essay shares her experiences volunteering at the Operation Hope and Fairfield community gardens as a way to reconnect with her community during isolation and responding to the growing issues of food insecurity due to the pandemic. "What started as a project to nourish families in need also nurtured my sense of purpose. While the seeds I sowed did not solve the problem of food insecurity, I joined in solidarity with others to grow an impact that was bigger than myself." Read Harper's full essay HERE.
Third Place was awarded to Paige Schrader, a senior at the Center for Global Studies at Brien McMahon High School. Paiges's essay tells the story of her volunteer work with Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI). At CIRI, Paige is a mentor, participates in their Girl's Club, and helps to collect laptops and tablets for the students in the program. "What truly brings me joy is forming meaningful relationships with people from all walks of life. This could be by having conversations with elders in Spain, caring for patients on the way to the hospital, or practically becoming a member of a refugee family. All of these actions put more kindness into the world and create some change, no matter how small, to create a unified society." Read Paige's full essay HERE.
Congratulations, Michael, Harper, and Paige. Thank you for dedication to your communities and your beautifully written essays!