Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Danbury News Times Features Regional Contenders In Young Writers Competition


Excerpt From Eileen Fitzgerald's Story ...

Danbury area student writers
compete for state awards

By Eileen Fitzgerald
Staff Writer
  • The News Times

  • Updated: 04/20/2009 11:41:51 PM EDT

    DANBURY -- When 15-year-old Rachael Fulton of Redding opened a letter from WestConn recently, she screamed. The 10th-grader at Joel Barlow High School learned her poem "I Love You Not" was selected as a semifinalist in the 12th annual Connecticut Young Writers awards competition.

    The contest is sponsored by Impac, a worldwide company management productivity improvement company, whose owner, James Irwin, lives in Litchfield, and the Connecticut State University System.

    "I was excited beyond words,'' Rachael said. "Writing is something I love to do, so to have someone else like it made me so happy."

    Emma and Olivia Lowenberg, sisters who are home schooled in Redding, are semifinalists in the prose portion of the competition.

    Emma, 16, wrote about caring for an owl at New Pond Farm in Redding, where she works two days a week.

    She told about going into his cage and his slowly coming to accept her. "I've never been so excited to be close to a wild bird,'' she said.

    She also was excited to be recognized by the writing competition, because she doesn't consider herself a writer.

    Fourteen-year-old Olivia was chosen for her research paper on the 14th century Black Death pandemic.

    "I'm really excited. It's a huge honor. It's a big deal to be part of a statewide writing contest,'' Olivia said. "Doing research comes harder for me, but writing comes naturally. It takes effort to find good sources, create an outline, and turn it into a paper."

    A prose and a poetry finalist from each of the state's eight counties will be named in events throughout the state. Semifinalists from Litchfield and Fairfield counties will be announced Thursday at Western Connecticut State University.

    A statewide winner in each category will be announced May 31 at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford.

    More than 580 Connecticut students entered their work in the competition this year.

    "With the help of many sponsors and volunteer laborers throughout Connecticut, we are able to say again to Connecticut's best young writers: 'Yes, you are a poet. Yes, you are writer,' " said Andy Thibault, chairman of Young Writers Trust.

    Cassandra Urban, a 16-year-old tenth-grader at Danbury's Alternative Center for Excellence, is a semifinalist for her poem about autumn.

    "I think I was more proud than excited," Urban said when she learned. "It makes me feel a lot better about my writing."

    Sixteen-year-old Daniel Holland, a junior at New Milford High School, is a semifinalist for his prose piece "Narrative of the Woods," in which he described for an English assignment what he saw during a walk in woods behind his house.

    "I didn't see myself as a writer,'' he said, but he decided he must be pretty good at describing things to get this far in the contest.

    MAY 31 ....

    *1st of 5 events


    NEW BRITAIN, CT, April 20, 2009 -- Young poets and writers from Hartford and Tolland counties were announced as regional champions Monday night in the 2009 Connecticut Young Writers Competition.

    During ceremonies at Central Connecticut State University, the quartet was among about 50 poets and writers hailed as county finalists by an enthusiastic crowd of 200 family members, teachers and friends, as well as staff, professors and administrators from the CSU System.

    The poetry county champions are: Cara Dorris, 15, of Glastonbury High School, for her poem, "hors de Paris;" and Jamie Phillips, 17, of E.O. Smith High School, for her poem, "Longevity."

    The prose county champions are: Leah Shafer, 16, of Simsbury High School, for her story, "Snap;" and Jessica Ruman, 17, of Rockville High School, for her story, "Photo."

    Why spend your time writing?

    The question was asked and answered by Central English Professor Steve Ostrowski, the keynote speaker.

    "Because it's a way of getting something that is perhaps vague and unformed -- but nevertheless urgent -- out of your head or heart and onto the page," Ostrowski told the crowd. With time, reflection and revision, he said, the work will make its way into the world …

    He also spoke of the rewards of writing, including giving pleasure to others. Other rewards, Ostrowski said, include entertaining readers or provoking them to think in new ways, offering insights, or moving them into a deep emotional state.

    All of this, Ostrowski said, is accomplished through the creative use of language.

    His advice for young writers: "Be the kind of person upon whom nothing is lost. Be a sponge. Soak up life and experience. Take it all in. Notice details. Don't sleepwalk through life. Everything you see and do is raw material for your writing ..."

    The young writers also heard from Central President Jack Miller, Provost Carl Lovitt, CSU System Chancellor David Carter and Vice Chancellor Louise Feroe. Professor Susan Gilmore, a longtime judge for the competition, served as mistress of ceremonies. Administrative staff including Courney McDavid, Rita Cotarelo-Ward and Wendy Wilton set up the event.

    The competition has inspired the participation of over 580 students this year -- the third highest number of entries in the competition's 12 years -- and is sponsored by IMPAC and the Connecticut State University System.

    Three other regional ceremonies are scheduled:
    *Thursday, April 23, at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, for Fairfield and Litchfield counties;
    *Monday, April 27, at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, for Middlesex and New Haven counties; and
    *Tuesday, April 28, at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, for New London and Windham counties.

    The county champions each receive $500 checks this year and are invited to the annual statewide ceremony and celebration May 31 at Mark Twain House & Museum.

    "The worldwide economic crisis has affected all of us, even The Young Writers Trust," said Andy Thibault, chairman of the non-profit foundation. "We are dealing with a shortfall in funding of more than $10,000 this year. Consequently, we had to reduce the amount of the county champion awards from $1,000 to $500."

    Young writers and parents at the Central event said they were gratified by the recognition and pleased by the financial awards, which the CSU System Chancellor, Dr. David Carter, characterized as a "half a loaf" in hard times.

    The recipients and their parents also said that in the current economic climate they would prefer cash awards to an overseas trip for the state champions. The cash awards for state champions had been a long-standing practice of the Young Writers Trust until the past several years. In accord with these discussions and other fiscal realities, the board of the Young Writers Trust has decided to restore the practice of giving cash prizes to the state champions in prose and poetry.

    The Trust is continuing to accept sponsorships for the annual celebration, and will present additional cash awards during its 12th annual celebration May 31 at the Mark Twain House & Museum.

    Recent donations have been received from the Litchfield-Morris Rotary; Mark Macomber, President & CEO of Litchfield Bancorp and our founding sponsor; Franz Douskey,professor at Gateway Community College in New Haven and President Emeritusof IMPAC University, Punta Gorda, FL; Dr. David Carter, the CSU System Chancellor;Dr. Joseph Bentivegna of Rocky Hill, the eye surgeon and novelist; Dr. WilliamCibes, the CSU System Chancellor Emeritus; Pat Steier of PS Art Gallery,Litchfield; Anny Gentilin of Charleston, S.C.; Dr. Lauren Doninger, professorat Gateway Community; Fran and Michael Keilty of the Hickory Stick Book Shop,Washington Depot; Ted Murphy of E.J. Murphy Realty, Litchfield; AttorneyJack Horak of Reid & Riege, Hartford; Attorney Tim Moynahan of Moynahan& Minnella, Waterbury; novelist Denning Powell of West Hartford; AttorneyBill Crowe of Mayo Crowe, Hartford; David and Ginger Dean of Litchfield CountyCommerical, Torrington; and Jeff Lalonde, President & CEO of Torrington Savings Bank. In addition,the Trust has received a number of substantial pledges for the annual celebrationfrom long-time sponsors.

    Business Card Ads in Program, $250;
    County Award Co-Sponsors, $500.
    * The Trust has also gratefully accepted
    donations in smaller denominations.

    *The IMPAC-Connecticut State University System Young Writers Trustis a non-profit foundation affiliated by Charter with the International IMPACDublin Literary Award and classified by the IRS as a 501 C (3)Public Charity.Federal Tax ID: 31-1635811

  • English Teachers: Restart Your Engines With Performance Poet Elizabeth Thomas @ Twain House May 31

  • Feature On Twain House

  • Young Writers Event Moves To Mark Twain
    House & Museum, Hartford

    Seating Limited

    You are cordially invited to attend the
    12TH Annual IMPAC-CSU System Young Writers
    Statewide Ceremony & Celebration

    Sunday, May 31, 2009

    Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington, Ave., Hartford

    2 p.m. Tour & Programs For Young Writers
    4:30 p.m. Workshops For Young Writers & Teachers (CEUs granted)
    5:30-6:45 p.m. Reception Catered By Frank Rosa's La Cupola Ristorante & Inn
    7 p.m. Awards Ceremony

    Special Guests
    Melanie Lieberman, 2007 State Prose Champion
    Victoria Nordlund, Poet & English teacher

    Rockville High School English teacher Victoria Nordlund [left] and senior Melanie Lieberman [center] with NBC 30's Tom Monahan
    Elizabeth Thomas, Teacher Workshop Leader / Performance Poetry


    Co-Masters of Ceremonies
    Rand Richards Cooper, Author
    Diane Smith, Author & Positively CT TV Host
    Ravi Shankar, Poet in Residence, English Professor, CCSU
    Colin McEnroe, Author & Columnist, Hartford Courant

  • Jazz Scene Heating Up @ Twain House

  • Reception Entertainment
    Jen Allen Big Band

    Reception Donation*
    $50 per person (teacher workshop add $25)


    -RSVP by May 21, 2009

    IMPAC-CSU System Young Writers Trust
    231 Beach St.
    Litchfield, CT 06759

    800-814-6931 or 860-690-0211

    *The IMPAC-Connecticut State University System Young Writers Trustis a non-profit foundation affiliated by Charter with the International IMPACDublin Literary Award and classified by the IRS as a 501 C (3)Public Charity.Federal Tax ID: 31-1635811

    Musical Finale, 11th Annual Dinner,
    IMPAC-CSU System
    Young Writers Competition, June 2008

  • Jen Allen Big Band

  • Bristol Teacher In Performance May 31 @ Mark Twain House

  • Young Writers Site Posts County Finalists 09

  • Mark Twain House & Museum Blog
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