Teachers Essay Contest

Essay Contest Archives

Announcement of the Winner of the 2017 Essay Contest

This year CT COLT conducted the sixth (6th) annual WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST.   For 2017, students explored the current theme for ACTFL, which is World Languages:  A Can-Do Mindset.  In a written response, students had to explore the following subtopics: 

(1) How do the Can-Do Statements help students in their learning of the language? How do they help world language teachers in their instruction?
(2) What recommendations would you make to both world language teachers and students in using these Can-Do Statements in the classroom and/or personally? 
(3) Do you think that these Can-Do Statements are beneficial and/or necessary for the teaching and learning of a world language? 

Students were required to craft well-organized arguments, constructed from objective, fact-based information, in addition to drawing upon personal experience from their own learning of foreign languages.  With this in mind, students reflected on their own experiences in their foreign language classrooms, illustrating how their teachers have used the Can-Do Statements to assess and monitor their progress in learning either Spanish and French. 

A committee of three (3) CT COLT board members reviewed essays submitted by world language students from various high schools around Connecticut.  Essays were read and scored according to a contest writing rubric which included the following criteria: citations and accuracy of facts cited, persuasiveness of arguments, conventions of writing and organization of essay.  CT COLT and all board members would like to take the opportunity to congratulate and thank all student writers and their teachers for participating in this year’s contest.  All students who submitted essays for this year’s contest will receive a Certificate of Participation from CT COLT.

This year’s committee is proud to announce that the winner of the 2017 CT COLT WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST is Jessica Buslewicz of Newington High School.  The committee applauds Ms. Buslewicz for her excellent essay which references both fact-based arguments and personal experiences.  In a well-argued and organized essay, Ms. Buslewicz makes several excellent points about how Can-Do Statements can be used as a proficiency based system for teaching and learning, wherein students can show what they know and what they can do in a language.  She continues to write how the very nature of the Statements focus more on what students are able to do functionally in a foreign language, as opposed to what they cannot do.  In this manner, she explains, students are able to build self-confidence with their language learning and are less discouraged to take chances when it comes to writing and especially speaking.  By utilizing the Can-Do Statements in her classroom, Jessica has experienced language learning with more of communicative purpose, as opposed to one that is evaluative and that focuses only on assessment.   Finally, Jessica summarizes that there are benefits to both students and teachers in the learning and instructional processes, which also serves as her basis for recommending that they be used more wide-spread in foreign language classrooms. 

We are pleased to present Jessica with a $50 award.  In addition, we are happy to provide her teacher, Ms. Stephanie Sanzo, with a $50 Carlex voucher.  Once again, we thank all student and teacher participants in this year’s contest and look forward to the eighth (8th) CT COLT Essay Contest in 2018.  Please click
HERE to download a copy of Jessica’s winning essay.

James Wildman, John R. Rook and Christine Dombrowski, Co-Chairs for the 2017 CT COLT Essay Contest

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Announcement of the Winner of the 2016 Essay Contest 

This year CT COLT conducted the fifth (5th) annual WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST.   For 2016, high school and middle school students first considered the current theme for ACTFL, which is Building Proficiency in Today’s Digital Natives.   In a written response, students how technology can be used to facilitate the foreign language learning of U.S. students, improve their linguistic skills and thus, result in better communication overall.  Lastly, contestants were required to expand upon how such improved proficiency can best prepare U.S. graduates for success in 21st – century careers in our ever-expanding global and technological world.  

With the above in mind, students addressed their essays to Boards of Education, discussing how technology can be used to facilitate and improve foreign language acquisition and proficiency levels of students in the age of globalization.  Students were required to craft well-organized arguments, constructed from objective, fact-based information, in addition to drawing upon personal experience from their own learning of foreign languages.  Many students included persuasive and relevant reasoning for the increased inclusion of technology in the foreign language classroom and just how it has assisted and even improved their knowledge of the target language.  As experience digital natives, proficient in many forms of technology, this year’s topic proved to be very appropriate and meaningful to all participants. 

A committee of four (4) CT COLT members reviewed almost 20 essays submitted by world language students from various high schools around Connecticut.  We would like to take the opportunity to thank all student writers and their teachers for participating in this year’s contest, for providing valuable insight, for referencing personal experience and for advocating for increased technology in the study of world languages.  All students who submitted essays for this year’s contest will receive a Certificate of Participation from CT COLT. 

In reading the essays, it is evident that the inclusion of such technologies as I-pads, applications, cell phones and the internet has all proven to be engaging and beneficial tools that promote language learning. For example, popular applications such as Kahoot have allowed students to quickly learn and assess their knowledge of vocabulary and linguistic structures of the target language in a fun manner.  Internet websites in the target language have also provided valuable cultural contexts for investigatory and interpretive classroom activities.  As experienced digital natives, students are able to navigate these technology platforms which are constantly changing and being improved.  In their native language, students are using these technologies to access information, communicate and connect with others.  When applied to foreign language learning, technology allows students to perform these same tasks in a different culture context and on a more global basis.   

This year’s committee is proud to announce that the winner of the 2016 CT COLT WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST is Carly Brown from North Haven High School.  The committee applauds Ms. Brown for her excellent essay which references both fact-based arguments and personal experiences.  In a well-organized and convincing essay, Ms. Brown writes about the importance of various usages and applications of technology in the classroom, detailing why their inclusion has led to her own increased knowledge and proficiency in learning a world language.  

We are pleased to present Carly with a $50 award.  In addition, we are happy to provide her teacher, Mrs. Brownell, with a $50 Carlex voucher.  Once again, we thank all student and teacher participants in this year’s contest and look forward to the sixth (6th) CT COLT Essay Contest in 2017.  Please click HERE to download a copy of Carly’s winning essay.

Christine Dombrowski and John R. Rook, Co-Chairs for the 2016 CT COLT Essay Contest

Announcement of the Winner of the 2015 Essay Contest 

This year CT COLT conducted the fourth (4th) annual WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST.   For 2015, high school and middle school students first considered the current theme for ACTFL, which is Lead with Languages: Global Skills for a Competitive Edge. In a written response, students investigated just how the study of modern languages will better prepare US students for 21st century careers in our ever-expanding global world. 

With the above in mind, students addressed their essays to their respective Boards of Education, discussing the benefits of studying modern languages in the age of globalization. The study and mastery of modern languages would provide various benefits to both students and prospective employers.   Some benefits for the student learner would be that studying modern languages would open one’s mind and expand one’s way of thinking, while providing insight into different cultures and peoples.  For the global employer, hiring someone with such language skills and cultural knowledge would guarantee that their staff would possess the necessary linguistic and intercultural competence to successfully operate in business worldwide.   Such cross-cultural sensitivity would serve to facilitate and reinforce international business relationships through mutual understanding.  Since more and more companies are operating internationally, students argued that these skills are vital, both to employee and employer, to remain competitive in the global marketplace.  

A committee of four (4) CT COLT members reviewed almost 20 essays submitted by world language students from various high schools around Connecticut.  We would like to take the opportunity to thank all student writers and their teachers for participating in this year’s contest, for providing valuable insight, for referencing personal experience and for advocating for the study of world languages.  In reading the essays, it is evident that the study of world languages provides numerous benefits to Connecticut students, with regard to communication and cross-cultural understanding, both of which are essential skills for our own diverse society, as well as for an increasingly-globalized world.

This year, we are happy to announce that the Essay Committee also received entries from Middle School writers.  All students who submitted essays for this year’s contest will receive a Certificate of Participation.

This year’s committee is proud to announce that the winner of the 2015 CT COLT WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST is Natalia Gimenez from Southington High School.  The committee applauds Ms. Gimenez for her exceptional essay which references personal experiences and numerous documented facts.  In a very eloquent and persuasive manner, Ms. Gimenez writes about the various important benefits of studying modern languages - to student and later young professional, in addition to global employers and international partners.  

We are pleased to present Natalia with a $50 award.  In addition, we are happy to provide her teacher, Mr. Bartoletti, with a $50 Carlex voucher.  Once again, we thank all student and teacher participants in this year’s contest and look forward to the fifth CT COLT Essay Contest in 2016.  Please click HERE to download a copy of Natalia’s winning essay. 

John R. Rook and Christine Dombrowski,
Co-Chairs for the 2015 CT COLT Essay Contest

Announcement of the Winner of the 2014 Essay Contest 

This year CT COLT conducted the third annual WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST.   For 2014, high school students considered the following quotation by Nelson Mandela:  “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”  

Keeping the above quote in mind, students were also tasked with describing how the study of another language has made them a better communicator, by considering published research on the subject and incorporating personal experiences.  A committee of four (4) CT COLT members reviewed almost 40 essays submitted by world language students from various high schools around Connecticut.  We would like to take the opportunity to thank all student writers and their teachers for participating in this year’s contest, for providing their points of view and for advocating for the study of world languages.

The task of reviewing and evaluating the essays was not an easy one.  This year’s essays offered very compelling reasons and insight as to why the study of world languages is essential in the 21st century, exemplified by many personal perspectives and life experiences both in and out of classroom, here in the US and abroad.  In reading the essays, it is evident that the study of world languages benefits many students across Connecticut, facilitated by the hard work and dedication of their teachers.  In many different ways, writers demonstrated why communication and the understanding of another culture are essential, in our diverse society and in an increasingly-globalized world.  Lastly, what is new for this year’s contest is that all students who submitted essays will be receiving a Certificate of Participation.

This year’s committee is proud to announce that the winner of the 2014 CT COLT WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST is Abigail Beech from Wilbur Cross High School. The committee applauds Ms. Beech for her beautifully-written essay which references numerous documented facts, all the while framed by a powerful and compelling voice.  She eloquently writes about the importance of communication and cross-cultural understanding in various contexts.

We are pleased to present Abigail with a $50 award.  In addition, we are happy to provide her teacher, Ms. Angeliki Giannopoulos, with a $50 Carlex voucher.  Once again, we thank all student and teacher participants in this year’s contest and look forward to the fourth Essay Contest in 2015.  Please click HERE to download a copy of Abigail’s winning essay.

John R. Rook and Christine Dombrowski, Co-Chairs for the 2014 CT COLT Essay Contest

 

Announcement of the Winner of the 2013 Essay Contest 

This year CT COLT conducted the second CT COLT WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST. Again, students were invited to write essays explaining why they chose to study world languages, incorporating into their piece both personal and objective, research-based reasons. The main goals were to offer students a voice and to recognize their excellence.  A committee of five CT COLT members had the challenging task of reviewing the well over 80 essays submitted by world language students from a variety of high schools in Connecticut.

At this point we would like to take the opportunity to thank all authors and their teachers for participating in the contest, for sharing their points of view and for being such wonderful advocates of world language study.  I am also grateful to my fellow CT COLT members on the committee for taking time out of their busy school year to read and evaluate the essays.

The essays offered insight into the many reasons why world language study is necessary in today’s globalized world while also pointing to the diverse personal advantages of world language study.  It is clear that world language study touches our students’ lives deeply.  The contestants’ powerful voices in support of languages and cultures emphasize the importance of CT COLT’s work in language and culture advocacy.

The winner of the CT COLT WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST 2013 is Hanna Kahlert from the Academy of Information Technology & Engineering in Stamford. The committee was impressed with the many well-documented facts and Hannah’s overall persuasive voice.   We are pleased to present Hanna’s teacher, Ms. Kelly Angileri, with a $50 Carlex voucher to show our appreciation for her work.  Please click HERE to download a copy of Hanna's winning essay.

Manuela Wagner, Ph.D., Chairperson of the 2013 Essay Contest

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The 2012 Essay Contest

The Connecticut Council of Language Teachers is proud to announce the FIRST ANNUAL ESSAY CONTEST for students in Grades 9-12.

Co-Chairpersons:  Michaela Volovsek and Manuela Wagner

About the 2012 CT COLT Essay Contest

This year, CT COLT launched the first CT COLT WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST. Students wrote essays explaining why they were committed to language study, incorporating into their piece both personal and objective, research-based reasons. We were offering a prize of $50 to the winning student and a $50 Carlex voucher to the CT COLT member teacher who submitted the student’s work. To our very great pleasure, the response was absolutely stunning—we expected to receive a couple dozen entries during this first year of the contest, and we got well over 100. A committee of four COLT board members read the evaluated the essays according to the rubric we had put online. Due to the number of entries, it took us slightly longer than predicted to complete the process. The evaluation committee agreed that reading the essays was a delight. All contestants in the first COLT WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST shared wonderful personal reasons why they thought world language study is beneficial while also pointing to numerous studies that linked world language study to better academic outcomes in other subject areas and better intercultural skills that are so important in today’s globalized world. As language educators, who have been engaged in world language education advocacy for many years, we could not have been more impressed with the many insights high school world language students displayed in their essays. This also reflects the excellent work done by the contestants’ teachers.

For next year we hope to invite more COLT members to participate in the evaluation process and we hope to have even more students reflect on their study and articulate what it means to them. Our wish is that they will all feel rewarded by the process, even if their entry is not selected. Please do contact Michaela Volovsek or Manuela Wagner if you are interested in being on the committee for next year.

The Essay Contest committee is proud to announce the winner of the first CT COLT Essay Contest. She is Tara Palnitkar from Mercy High School in Middletown. She is a student in Mr. Robert Hunt’s AP French 5 class. Congratulations to Tara! Please here to read this student’s award winning essay. 

2016 Gold Medal Teacher Essay Contest

DEADLINE: April 8, 2016

The Corvallis-Benton County Public Library invites all elementary students to submit one essay in support of why their elementary school teacher or staff member deserves a gold medal!

This summer, the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library will be offering a summer reading program with the theme of “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!” To acknowledge the important and lasting impact that teachers and school staff members make on the lives of children, the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library is offering an opportunity this spring for elementary students to participate in an essay contest to nominate their teacher or school staff member to receive a “Gold Medal Teacher” award.

The “Gold Medal Teacher” Essay Contest is sponsored by the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library and is open to all Benton County K-5 students. The elementary school entrants must base their essay on the   following prompt:

Please describe why you think your teacher or school staff member deserves a gold medal.

The essay must be at least 100 words and is not to exceed 400 words. Essays may be typewritten and double-spaced or they may be neatly handwritten. The title is to appear as a heading on each page, but the student’s name must not appear on any page except the Entry Form Cover Sheet that must accompany each essay:

Corvallis Entry Form | Spanish Entry Form | Alsea Entry Form | Monroe Entry Form | Philomath Entry Form

Deadline:

Essays must be delivered to the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library on or before April 8, 2016. Mailed entries must be postmarked by April 8, 2016. Schools will be notified of winning entrants on or before April 22, 2016. Parents will be contacted on or before that date only if their child’s essay is selected.

Prizes:

Students with winning entries will receive a certificate. Honored teachers and school staff members will receive a certificate and a gold medal award.


2016 Teacher Essay Contest Winners:

Local Teachers Recognized in the Gold Medal Teacher Essay Contest Held by Corvallis-Benton County Public Library

We are thrilled to announce that the following local elementary teachers and school staff members are winners in our second Teacher Essay Contest held by the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library:
Teacher/Staff MemberStudent
Jeff Parker, Corvallis Waldorf SchoolDora Boucher
Savannah Battro, Garfield Elementary SchoolCristina Prado Alvarez
Christy Bolden, Garfield Elementary SchoolFiona Skye McLeod
Diana Hammond, Garfield Elementary SchoolAndrea Castañeda Perez
David Harner, Garfield Elementary SchoolAlejandro Amador
Alleya Jack, Garfield Elementary SchoolSofia Sky Becerra
Alexia Kaye-Waggle, Garfield Elementary SchoolJosé Becíes Olaya
Mikaila Kummerow, Garfield Elementary SchoolAmanda-Abigail Hernandez-Orozco
Gavin Lorens, Garfield Elementary SchoolAlaina Babbar-Sebens
Kim Meyers, Garfield Elementary SchoolHaley Washburn
Sherry Newton, Garfield Elementary SchoolRyder Clow
Becca Stark, Garfield Elementary SchoolDaisy Lake
Liz Miller, Jefferson Elementary SchoolCleo Sandler
Mo Ruzek, Jefferson Elementary SchoolLife Skills Program Primary Students
Maria Adams, Lincoln Elementary SchoolZarina Bistrika
Sami Arnst, Lincoln Elementary SchoolMadrone Ridling
Jennifer Carpenter, Lincoln Elementary SchoolLincoln McManus
Adriana Espinosa, Lincoln Elementary SchoolKate Staffieri
Rachel Frazier, Lincoln Elementary SchoolRachel B. Groom
Armida Guerrero, Lincoln Elementary SchoolVictoria Ayala Cabeza
Hilary Hernández, Lincoln Elementary SchoolJessica Gilpin
Mayra Juarez-Hernandez, Lincoln Elementary SchoolMia Jo Klinkhammer
Nancy Morales, Lincoln Elementary SchoolLeah Childress
Talia Pascuzzi, Lincoln Elementary SchoolQuincy Sahnow
Marilyn Polo, Lincoln Elementary SchoolFinn Hanson
Roxi Wolfe, Lincoln Elementary SchoolAbbie Brown
Jennifer Gray, Philomath Elementary SchoolReagan Chisholm
Kendall Lord, Philomath Elementary SchoolIsaac Avery
Abby Couture, Philomath Elementary SchoolJessica McLennan
Elaine Hall, Philomath Elementary SchoolAdele Beckstead
Alicia Moran, Philomath Elementary SchoolConnor Greeley
Melissa Patterson, Philomath Elementary SchoolHayley Gammon
Anna Bailey, Philomath Elementary SchoolTatum Pope
Molly Bell, Philomath Elementary SchoolHanna McDaniel
Cari DenHerder, Philomath Elementary SchoolColton Whittier
Ruth Mock, Philomath Elementary SchoolOwen Wood
Gina Morrison, Philomath Elementary SchoolChristian Eaton
Laura Heiken, Philomath Elementary SchoolCameron McLennan
C.A. Rath, Philomath Elementary SchoolZoe Ringwal
Sadie Mooney, Philomath Elementary SchoolSavannah Adams

 

We again received such excellent essay entries that we decided to award all nominated teachers and school staff. Our essay review committee recognized one student winner for those teachers and staff who received nominations from multiple students. To maintain the same level of enthusiasm that student entrants showed for their teachers, youth librarians from Corvallis-Benton County Public Library made surprise, in-person deliveries of the teacher and student prizes at each school with a winning teacher. Teachers and school staff members received a “You Make a Difference” medal and a signed certificate, and students received a signed certificate.

The essay contest was in celebration of this year’s summer reading program theme, “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!” Students in Benton County were asked to write why they thought their teacher or school staff member deserved a gold medal. The Corvallis-Benton County Public Library’s summer reading program is open to all ages, from birth to adults. Participate by picking up summer reading materials at your local library branch, starting June 1.

Contact Youth Services with any questions: 541-766-6794.


2015 Teacher Essay Contest Winners:

Local Teachers Recognized as Heroes in Student Essay Contest Held by Corvallis-Benton County Public Library

We are thrilled to announce that the following local elementary teachers are winners in the first-ever “My Teacher, My Hero” Essay Contest held by the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library:
  • Rachel Sechler, nominated by essay winner, Jonny Junkins, at Ashbrook Independent School
  • Erin Kooyman, nominated by essay winner, Andrew Fernandez, at Ashbrook Independent School
  • Jennifer England, nominated by essay winner, Colin Reimer, at Franklin School
  • Mrs. Stark, nominated by essay winner, Gailen Garcia-Lewis, at Garfield Elementary School
  • Danielle Geissler, nominated by essay winner, Liza Fowler, at Garfield Elementary School
  • Matthew Criscione, nominated by essay winner, Eve Elwood, at Hoover Elementary School
  • Megan McQueen, nominated by essay winner, Cleo Sandler, at Jefferson Elementary School
  • Debbie Birdseye, nominated by essay winner, Kate Middleton, at Jefferson Elementary School
  • Kristin Erickson, nominated by essay winner, Liam Russell, at Jefferson Elementary School
  • Talia Pascuzzi, nominated by essay winner, Cruz Salcido, at Lincoln Elementary School
  • Sami Arnst, nominated by essay winner, Samantha Marie Murk, at Lincoln Elementary School
  • Rachel Frazier, nominated by essay winner, Mia J. Klinkhammer, at Lincoln Elementary School
  • Marilyn Polo, nominated by essay winner, Enat Bluhm, at Lincoln Elementary School
  • Mary Lynn Roush, nominated by essay winner, Sara Schoeffler, at Mt. View Elementary School
  • Tammy Bumstead, nominated by essay winner, Melea Lattin, at Clemens Primary School
  • Laura Heiken, nominated by essay winner, Savannah Adams, at Philomath Elementary School
  • Elaine Hall, nominated by essay winner, Sophia Bauer, at Philomath Elementary School

We received such excellent and enthusiastic student entries that we decided to award all nominated teachers this year. Our essay review committee recognized one student winner for those teachers who received nominations from multiple students. To maintain the same level of enthusiasm that student entrants showed for their teachers, youth librarians from Corvallis-Benton County Public Library made surprise, in-person deliveries of the teacher and student prizes at each school with a winning teacher. Teachers received a Super Teacher t-shirt, and their nominating students received a special certificate.

This essay contest was in celebration of this year’s summer reading program theme, Every Hero Has a Story. Students from area elementary schools were invited to nominate their teachers as local heroes, helping tell the stories of the heroic work their teachers do every day. The Corvallis-Benton County Public Library’s summer reading program is open to all ages, from birth to adults. Participate by picking up summer reading materials at your local library branch.

Contact Youth Services with any questions: 541-766-6794.

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