Connecticut’s 2020 Letters About Literature Contest Winners Named

Letters About Literature Book ImageThe Neag School of Education, UConn’s Department of English, and the Connecticut Writing Project (CWP) at UConn are proud to announce Connecticut’s winners of the 27th annual Letters About Literature competition, a nationwide contest formerly sponsored by the Library of Congress for students in grades 4 through 12.

This fall, the Neag School, the Department of English, and the CWP served as the contest’s Connecticut sponsors for the 2019-20 academic year; Neag School Professor Doug Kaufman, CWP Director Jason Courtmanche, and Department of English Ph.D. candidate Sophia Buckner served as the contest’s representatives for the state of Connecticut.

There were 416 submissions from Connecticut students, and 53 semi-finalists. Each semi-finalist will receive a certificate of recognition. Nine state finalists from the contest’s three categories (Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8, and Grades 9-12) have been selected, and each will receive a cash prize. Read more about the contest, and click the student finalists’ names below to read their winning essays.

Congratulations to the finalists for the state of Connecticut, listed along with their school and teacher’s name, and the work of literature that is the focus of their essay:

Level I (Grades 4-6)

  • First Place: Nathan Ben-Ari, King Philip Middle School, Lucinda Kulvinskas, Peak by Roland Smith
  • Honorable Mention: Molly Grove, King Philip Middle School, Lucinda Kulvinskas, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • Honorable Mention: Julia Lane, Macdonough Elementary School, John Ferrero, Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Level II (Grades 7-8)

  • First Place: Caroline Holmberg, Franklin Elementary, Pamela Flaherty, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Honorable Mention: Akosua Hansen, Mansfield Middle School, Melissa Szych, Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams

Level III (Grades 9-12)

  • First Place: Scarlett Sladek, Staples High School, Danielle Spies, Nevermoor: The Tales of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
  • Honorable Mention: Krish Shah, Notre Dame High School of West Haven, Lucy Abbott, A Song of Ice and Fire by George Martin
  • Honorable Mention: Eliza Lang, Staples High SchoolBarbara Robbins, Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Honorable Mention: Sasha Maskoff, Staples High School, Danielle Spies, The Giver by Lois Lowry

Alumni, students and friends from the Neag School of Education and the University of Connecticut judged the 416 Letters About Literature contest submittals this past fall. The judges selected the semi-finalists at each of the three competition levels (grades 4-5, 7-8, and 9-12). Thank you to the first-round contest judges:

Kelly Andrews-Babcock
Mary Jane Bezares
Katie Case
Kayla Cole
Jane Cook
Lisbeth Dizney
Maura Doxsee
Kaitlyn Ferrara
Victoria Fielding
Sydney Fogarty
Kim Gentile
Marita Gereg
Lindsey Gervais
Denise Grant
Emily Griffin
Stephanie Fischer
Olivia Grossman
Tommy Jacobsen
Emily Lam
Lindsay Larsen
Shawn Lucas
Melissa Oberlander
Ashlyn O’Boyle
Katelyn Owens
Alison Pellici
Olivia Pietrowicz
Nicole Preston
Jackie Robinson
Cynthia Romero
Debra Sargent
Gabrielle Sheridan
Emily Sherwill
Jonathan Simmons
Sara Smith
Denise Stemmler
Patricia Weingart
John Wetmore

Students in the Neag School and Department of English judged the 53 Letters About Literature contest semi-finalists this past month. The judges selected the best Letters About Literature submitted by Connecticut students at each of the three competition levels (grades 4-5, 7-8, and 9-12).

Thank you to the contest judges, who are current students in the Neag School of Education Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s program with a second major or concentration in English or UConn students majoring in English:

Britney M. Augeri
Caroline P. Crouse
Brenda M. Gutierrez
Elise Jacqueline Halle
Lauren N. Jellen
Alex Milton Klein
Johnny Liang
Grace A. Mandy
Ashlyn E. O’Boyle
Olivia Rose Pappas
Katrina Rose Ptyza
Ailia Rohbar
Kate Rose Romanchick
Gigi Frances Shugrue
Rebecca A. Socha
Sydney Spizzoucco
Sammy Vanvalkenburg
Vanessa Vazquez