Casey Cisero, of Sunnyside Middle School, reads his winning essay as State Rep. Larry Miller, R-122, left, Shelton alderman Eric McPherson, R-2nd ward, center, and State Rep. Jason Perillo, R-113, listen during an awards ceremony at the Plumb Memorial Library in Shelton Wednesday night. The contest theme, “If I Were An Elected Official- How Would I Make My Community A better Place To Live?” featured answers that ranged from tax cuts for volunteerism to better services for teens and the elderly.
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State Representatives Larry Miller (R-Stratford, Shelton) and Jason Perillo (R-Shelton) joined representatives from Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan Wednesday night in congratulating middle school students from Shelton for an essay contest with the theme of improving their community. State Senator Dan Debicella was also involved in the contest but was unable to attend the ceremony.
The contest, “If You Were an Elected Official- How Would You Make Your Community a Better Place to Live?” was created with the idea of getting local students to think about issues from a larger perspective. The ideas ranged from tax breaks for volunteerism and using hybrid vehicles, improving roads, reducing litter and recycling to building dog parks, creating kid friendly activity centers and providing senior citizens with better housing.
“The winning essays were incredibly detailed and loaded with good ideas,” Rep. Perillo said. “The thought and commitment these kids put into their essays shows they care about the issues and policies our government crafts on both the local and state level. I’m impressed with how thoughtful the suggestions were”
Representative Miller agreed. “Some of their ideas, like tax breaks for people that volunteer a percentage of time in the community, demonstrate their commitment to being responsible citizens of the community,” Rep. Miller said. “It’s important to have our school kids engaged in local issues and I believe this contest provided a different perspective for them to be engaged.”
Contest sponsor Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan provided savings bonds to the winners and runners-up. The winners each received a $100 savings bond and the runners-up were each awarded a $50 savings bond.
“Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan is a community bank with 10 branches, including 3 in the lower Naugatuck Valley, and we use our resources and try to give back to the community,” said Senior Vice President William C. Nimons. “We give to the community in the form of contributions, lending and services. We’re always happy to help, that’s what community banks do.”
More than 30 parents, friends, teachers and family crowded into the community room of Shelton’s Plumb Memorial Library for the ceremony. There were two winners each from three schools.
Sunnyside Middle School
Alexis Zhitomi, Runner-Up
Casey Cisero, winner
St. Joseph Middle School
Nicole Todd, Runner-Up
Jake Cartiglia, winner
St. Lawrence Middle School
Dominika Tomczyk, Runner-Up
Kaeli DeCesare, Winner