Senator Witkos Hosts Essay Contest Ceremony in Simsbury

May 31, 2012
From left to right: Johanna McIlveen, Isabelle Dorman, Simsbury Bank Senior Vice President and Simsbury Senior Market Manager Terry Boulton, James Sullivan, Katie Ingram, State Senator Kevin Witkos, Collin Duran, Drew Zenick, Maria Hodson and Andy Li.

From left to right: Johanna McIlveen, Isabelle Dorman, Simsbury Bank Senior Vice President and Simsbury Senior Market Manager Terry Boulton, James Sullivan, Katie Ingram, State Senator Kevin Witkos, Collin Duran, Drew Zenick, Maria Hodson and Andy Li.

Simsbury – State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) hosted an essay contest ceremony with sixth grade students from six area schools including Central Elementary School, Ethel Walker School, Master’s School, St. Mary’s School, Squadron Line Elementary School and Tariffville Elementary School at the Apple Barn on Thursday, May 24th. The event was hosted in partnership with Simsbury Bank which presented awards for the winning and runner-up essays.

“I am so impressed by the level of detail and reflection included in each of your essays,” said Senator Kevin Witkos. “My intent in holding this contest was to raise awareness of the role elected officials play in our communities, and I want to give young writers the opportunity to think about what they would do with this responsibility. These essays are so in tune with current issues that I believe you must read the Wall Street Journal before going to bed!”

The topic was “If You Were an Elected Official, How Would You Make Your Community a Better Place to Live?” Below is a list of the winners and runners-up from each school:

Central Elementary School

Isabelle Dorman – Winner
Katie Ingram – Runner-up

Ethel Walker School

Louisa Gillett – Winner
Lindsey Riggles – Runner-up

Masters School

Elektra Cheney – Winner
Jonathon E. Lebo – Runner-up

St. Mary School

James Sullivan – Winner
Collin Duran – Runner-up

Squadron Line Elementary School

Maria Hodson – Winner
Andy Li – Runner-up

Tariffville Elementary School

Drew Zenick – Winner
Johanna McIlveen – Runner-up

“I would like to congratulate the young writers who invested their time and effort into crafting these well-written essays,” said Terry Boulton, Senior Vice President and Simsbury Senior Market Manager of the Simsbury Bank. “Simsbury Bank has been a proud partner in our community for 17 years, and I look forward to joining similar educational initiatives in the near future.”

At the event, winners and runners-up each read their essay and received a citation from the Connecticut General Assembly. Simsbury Bank also generously presented gift certificates to each of the students in the amounts of $50 for the winners and $25 for the runners-up.

Isabelle Dorman from Central Elementary School believes that a better community starts with improvements to our education system. She would start with implementing full day kindergarten and opening a teen center for after school.

Louisa Gillett from the Ethel Walker School would also look to improve education by providing students and teachers with additional resources. Health, safety and the environment are other areas where she would focus her attention.

Maria Hodson from Squadron Line Elementary School wrote about the challenges elected officials face when budget constraints force tough decisions. She would purchase newer textbooks and other updated technology to improve the quality of education that Simsbury students receive.

Drew Zenick from Tariffville Elementary School would create a recreation center where students can play sports together.

James Sullivan from St. Mary’s School would prioritize the health and safety of our community by installing breathalyzers in cars and focusing more attention on education.

Collin Duran from St. Mary’s School would look for ways to create jobs, expand access to recreation, and has some new and innovative ideas to enhance the education system.

Katie Ingram from Central Elementary School shared some great ideas to attract more businesses to town, promote economic development, and offer tax credits to seniors.

Andy Li from Squadron Line Elementary School would work to reduce Simsbury’s carbon footprint by promoting the use of bicycles and improving bike lanes.

Lindsey Riggles from the Ethel Walker School would focus on making our schools “green” and forming a committee to give students the opportunity to help make decisions about their education.

Johanna McIlveen from Tariffville Elementary School would encourage students to join together to clean up trash and make our community a cleaner place.

Elektra Cheney and Jonathon Lebo from the Master’s School were unable to attend due to a previously scheduled field trip.

The students were joined by their parents, grandparents, school administrators, teachers and members of the public who gathered to recognize their accomplishments.

“I congratulate the winners and runners-up for your hard work and thank the Simsbury Bank for their generous participation,” continued Senator Witkos.

Simsbury Bank is an independent, local bank for consumers and businesses. The Bank has approximately $350 million in assets. The Bank serves customers through full-service offices in Avon, Bloomfield, Granby and Simsbury, Connecticut; a mortgage loan production office in Canton and mortgage loan originators throughout Connecticut; SimsburyBank Online internet banking at; free ATM transactions at hundreds of machines throughout the northeastern U.S. via the SUM program; and 24 hour telephone banking. The Bank’s wholly-owned subsidiary, SBT Investment Services, Inc., offers securities and insurance products through LPL Financial and its affiliates, Member FINRA/SIPC. Simsbury Bank is wholly owned by publicly traded SBT Bancorp, Inc. Its stock is traded over-the-counter under the ticker symbol of OTCBB: SBTB. For more information, please visit