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Polson Student Wins ‘Energize Connecticut’

Energize Connecticut, together with the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, Connecticut Light & Power, and the United Illuminating Company, announced the winners of its ninth annual eesmarts student contest for students in grades kindergarten through 12. In the 7th-grade category, the winners were, first place, Ashlinn Virgulto, Walter C. Polson Middle School, Madison; second place, Imani Shortz, John Winthrop Middle School, Deep River; and third place, Michael McMahon, Tomlinson Middle School, Fairfield.

The contest gave Connecticut students the opportunity to showcase their "energy smarts" about saving energy by answering grade-level specific prompts regarding energy efficient and renewable energy technology. Students submitted entries in a variety of media including poems, essays, graphs, and artwork.

The award ceremony was held last week in the Old Judiciary Room of the Connecticut State Capitol. Deputy Commissioner of Energy for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Katherine Dykes and Jamie Howland, first vice chair of the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board, were both on hand to congratulate the winners.

"You don't have to be an adult to understand the importance of energy efficiency," said Dykes. "The eesmarts program and annual student contest play important roles in helping students from kindergarten all the way through high school learn and appreciate the importance of energy efficiency and renewable energy, positioning them for a lifetime of environmentally conscious thinking."

First-prize winners received an iPad, and second-prize winners received a Kindle Fire. Third-place winners received a $25 dollar gift card to Amazon, along with a season pass for their family to a science museum, which includes the choice of the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, or Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk. Winners came from 20 cities and towns across Connecticut, with more than 1,000 entries.

New to the contest this year was the Power of Change award category for grades 9 to 11, which asked students to propose a community based project plan to address an energy related issue. The eesmarts program partnered with three Connecticut-based foundations-the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Hampshire Foundation, and the Common Sense Fund-to identify three winners in this category to receive funding to make their community-based project a reality. The three foundations will together provide grants of $1,000 for first place, $1,000 for second place, and $500 for third place. The eesmarts program will match the foundations' awards in this category.

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