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West Hartford 6th Graders 'Strut Their Writing Stuff' for Rotary

Eight finalists in West Hartford Rotary Club Writing Contest read their essays at last week's luncheon.

Eight West Hartford 6th graders, finalists in West Hartford Rotary Club’s Writing Contest, read compelling essays on what "reaching within to embrace humanity" meant to them during a May 14 luncheon at Saint Joseph College.

The club sponsored the luncheon for 24 students, who were selected by their teachers based on the quality of their work, to represent their schools.

The biennial writing contest, organized by West Hartford Rotary member and past president Tony Rodriguez, drew compelling essays from 800 6th graders at West Hartford’s , , and middle schools. Since its inception in 1994, over 12,000 West Hartford 6th grade students have participated in the writing project.

The essays had to be at least 500 words in length and read in 3-5 minutes. The students dedicated 3-4 weeks as part of their school curriculum working on the project in their English classes.

Essay finalists Nadia Son and Elenor Duva from Bristow Middle School, Ellen Fuller, Kate Barnett, and Cole Canarie from King Phillip Middle School, and Ellie Bavier, Trevor Richard, and Cameron Vines from Sedgwick Middle School brought the audience of teachers, parents and Rotarians to tears with their hopes for and efforts to make a positive impact on others.

Essay topics included curing children’s cancer, preventing bullying, helping the homeless, reducing fossil fuel use through alternative energy, addressing world hunger, and the concept of working together to repair the world (Tikkun Olam).

Faculty members from King Phillip, Bristow and Sedgwick middle schools worked with students to develop themes for and compose their essays for the contest. Catherine Buchholz, English department supervisor at Hall, King Philip, and Bristow Schools and Tom Paleologopoulos, supervisor of English at West Hartford Public Schools oversaw the project.

“West Hartford Rotary’s Writing Contest offers our town’s 6th grade students an opportunity to express themselves through writing, a critical and fundamental skill in our lives,” said Rodriguez. “Through their essays, these talented young writers have each conveyed similar dreams, hopes, aspirations and the yearning for a better tomorrow for all people.”

Submitted by West Hartford Rotary Club

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