The contest gives Connecticut students in grades K-12 the opportunity to showcase their “energy smarts” about energy-saving, renewable energy, and sustainability through various media forms. This year’s contest received more than 900 submissions, and the 39 finalists represented 15 cities and towns across the state.
This year’s ceremony attracted more than 100 students, parents and energy efficiency supporters in celebration of the students’ hard work. Robert Klee, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), along with State Senators, State Representatives and representatives from Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating were in attendance to congratulate the winners. NBC Connecticut Meteorologist Bob Maxon served as Master of Ceremonies.
“The future of energy efficiency and clean energy in Connecticut depends on the understanding and innovation of our youth,” said Klee. “It is a pleasure to see the projects that these students developed, all of which demonstrate a great deal of creativity and environmentally-conscious thinking.”
Students in grades K-8 answered grade-level specific prompts in the form of a poster (Grades K-2), narrative (Grade 3), news article (Grade 4), book review (Grade 5), essay (Grade 6), speech (Grade 7), or public service announcement (Grade 8).
Students in Grades 9-12 competed in the “Power of Change” award category where they propose a community-based project to address an energy-related issue. Students were allowed to compete in groups in this category, and winners’ schools will receive funding to make their proposed project a reality.
The “Power of Change” category was created in collaboration with Connecticut-based foundations Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Hampshire Foundation, and the Common Sense Fund. The eesmarts program provides grants of $1,000 for first place, $1,000 for second place, and $500 for third place, with the foundations matching these grant levels.
For all grade levels, first prize winners receive a $400 Amazon Gift Card, second prize winners receive a $250 Amazon Gift Card, and third prize winners receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
This year’s winners included:
First: Zairah Farid, Salma K. Farid Academy, Hamden
Second: Cali Purcaro, St. Peter/St. Francis School, Torrington
Third: Paige Keough, St. Martha School, Enfield
First: Nathaniel Goldschmidt, University of Hartford Magnet School, West Hartford
Second: Zoe Miller, St. Peter/St. Francis School, Torrington
Third: Aliza Ali, Salma K. Farid Academy, Hamden
First: Salma J. Farid, Salma K. Farid Academy, Hamden
Second: Joshau Eckel, St. Martha School, Enfield
Third: Gianna Gilmore, St. Martha School, Enfield
First: Lauren Konefal, John Lyman Elementary School, Middlefield
Second: Victor Bazinet, CREC International Magnet School, South Windsor
Third: Yash Bhandari, Newfield Elementary, Stamford
Honorable Mention: Trinayaan Hariharan, CREC International Magnet School, South Windsor
First: Paige Brooks, Worthington Hooker Middle School, New Haven
Second: Angelina Landolfi, Worthington Hooker Middle School, New Haven
Third: Karina McMahon, Burr Elementary School, Fairfield
First: Faiz Farooqui, Helen Street School, Hamden
Second: Yann Calderwood, Francis Walsh Intermediate School, Branford
Third: Kaleigh Spencer, Barkhamsted School, Barkhamsted
First: Brendan McMahon, Tomlinson Middle School, Fairfield
Second: Bryce Coudriet, St. Peter/St. Francis School, Torrington
Third: Elizabeth Terry, John Winthrop School, Bridgeport
First: Caroline Landry, John F. Kennedy Middle School, Enfield
Second: Michael Gingras, John Winthrop Middle School, Deep River
Third: Nihal Wadhwa, Hillcrest Middle School, Trumbull
First: Joey Persechino, St. Peter/St. Francis School, Torrington
Second: Kelsi Page, St. Peter/St. Francis School, Torrington
Third: Jacob Spell, St. Aedan-St. Brendan Catholic School, New Haven
Honorable Mention: Michael McMahon, Tomlinson Middle School, Fairfield
High School Grades 9-12 (Power of Change winners)
First: Shravan Wadhwa, Trumbull High School, Trumbull
Second: Anuj Sisodiya, Trumbull High School, Trumbull
Third: (Team) Charles Kuchenbrod, Matt Cohen, David Lagace, Jeremy Ray & Katelyn Rutty; Greater Hartford Academy of Math and Science, Hartford
Honorable Mention: (Team) Jenny Tang, Janaya Boddie & Seeya Sodani; Academy of Aerospace and Engineering High School, Hartford
For more information about the contest, please visit www.eesmarts.com/contest.
About Energize Connecticut
Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority, the State, and your local electric and gas utilities, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Information on energy-saving programs can be found at EnergizeCT.com or by calling 1.877.WISE.USE.