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Poem about city
wins BCHS student a top prize
Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:38 PM EDT
By FREESIA SINGNGAM
NEW BRITAIN — Morgan Finn has been writing since she was in kindergarten.
Her mother said she’s always impressed her teachers.
Finn’s talent also impressed the judges for the Connecticut Young Writer’s Competition, earning her first place for Hartford County.
“It was completely unexpected,” said Finn, a sophomore at Bristol Central High School.
Her poem, “Where I Come From,” was an English class assignment. In it, she mentions Rockwell Park and childhood memories. Her colorful words draw readers in with her “starched uniforms,” “frozen fingertips,” and “smacking bubblegum.”
“I wrote it because it was the way I translate everything,” she said.
Finn received $500 at a regional ceremony at Central Connecticut State University Wednesday night, and she now has a chance at winning the state prize of $1,000 at a dinner June 3.
“I love writing,” she said. In the future, she wants to write or act, or both.
Finn’s entire family attended the event to support her.
Her mother, Christa Finn, said every teacher has asked her where she learned to write like that.
“She writes every day,” her father, Martin Finn said.
Her grandparents, Charles and Janice Paparello, said Finn has been writing since she was very young and said she even recited a poem she wrote at her eighth-grade graduation.
Andy Thibault, chairman of the Impac-Connecticut State University Young Writers Trust that runs this competition, said Finn is the first student from a Bristol high school to win since the contest’s inception in 1998.
Thibault said by June 3, when the state winners are announced, the trust will have awarded more than $192,000 to young writers.
“Our main purpose is to remind the young poets and writers that they’re indeed young poets and writers,” he said.
Almost 800 students entered the competition this year, Thibault said. In the CCSU ceremony, finalists from Hartford and Tolland counties were presented with their certificates.
Madeleine Morrin, a student at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts who lives in Berlin, has been a finalist for the last two years. This year it was in prose for her piece, “Regarding Mice, Sex and the Monopoly Shovel.”
“It’s just really awesome,” she said about being a finalist. “It feels really good.”
Other local finalists include Jason Myers, a home-schooled student from Plantsville, who entered a prose piece titled “The Diaper Man,” and Farah Kader, a student at Berlin High School, who entered a prose piece titled “Breaking Glass.”
This week, Thibault said, the county winners are being announced at the Connecticut State Universities at separate ceremonies.
Heather Urbanski, an assistant professor of English at CCSU, served as keynote speaker for the awards ceremony.
She talked about her switch from working in finance to going back to graduate school to become a writer. She told the young writers to keep writing if that’s what they like to do.
“Write everyday — the topic doesn’t matter,” she said. “Be prepared when opportunity comes around.”
Finn and the other winners will now go onto the annual Connecticut Young Writers Trust celebration at the Hartford Club.
“It’s like a sports banquet,” Thibault said.
From there, a panel of judges will chose two state winners — one for poetry and one for prose — and those winners will receive $1,000.
They will also have a chance to be published in CT Review, and their work will be featured on the Connecticut State University System Web site.
Freesia Singngam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-584-0501, ext. 7259.