BRISTOL - The Board of Education honored four local students who were among the six middle school finalists in the 2019 Connecticut Kids Speak and Kids Court essay competition, sponsored by the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
The four are Veronica Castro, from Chippens Hill Middle School; Sophia Palaia and Bella Paradise, both from Greene-Hills K-8 School; and Madison Pflugbeil, from West Bristol K-8 School.
Superintendent Catherine Carbone introduced Sophia and Bella at the August board meeting. Veronica and Madison were not able to attend the meeting.
Kids Speak and Kids Court are “an opportunity for kids to engage and voice their opinions and their passions around a civil right,” Carbone explained.
Sophia told the board members she is going into seventh grade, and she wrote her essay on mental illness.
Bella said she is also going into seventh grade and her essay was on the LGBTQ Upstander movement, which encourages students to speak out against bullying.
The four students “were honored because of their writing ability and their passion for their topic,” Carbone said. “There were only six students identified at the middle level, and Bristol had four of those young students.”
The Kids Court essay competition kicked off in May with Kids Speak, at the University of Connecticut School of Law, a day for students to come together and discuss topics related to civil and human rights, such as diversity, school climate and culture, anti-bullying, equal protection, neighborhood isolation and housing, busing, individuality, educational equity, etc.
For the competition, students wrote short essays on one of five civil rights topics. Students with the top essays from the middle school and high school levels were selected as finalists to compete in the Oral Kids Court, held June 11 in the Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol Building in Hartford.
For more information, visit www.ct.gov/chro .
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.