Lawmakers Host Women’s History Month Essay Contest at Seymour Middle School

March 31, 2022

Berthel, Kelly,  Klarides-Ditria Award Essay Contest Winners


Seymour Middle School 6th Grade essay contest winners and their parents at the awards ceremony on Mar. 29, 2022.

In honor of National Women’s History Month, Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly, Senator Eric Berthel and State Representative Nicole Klarides-Ditria hosted an essay contest for 6th grade students at Seymour Middle School.


All 6th grade students were invited to participate by writing a 300-word essay on the topic, “Important Women in Connecticut’s History and How Their Contributions to the State and Nation Affect Me.”


During a ceremony on March 29 with the entire 6th grade gathered in the auditorium, Victoria Bertapelle, Samantha Pastick, Jacob Olson, and Melody Ramos were recognized for their winning essays. They read their essays in front of gathered friends and their parents before the legislators presented State Citations and awards of recognition along with General Assembly lapel pins.



1st Place – Victoria Bertapelle. Victoria wrote about Kristen Griest of New Haven who was the first woman infantry officer in the U.S. Army.

2nd Place – Samantha Pastick. Samantha wrote about Dorrit Hoffleit, astronomer at Yale University.

3rd Place – Jacob Olson. Jacob wrote about Margaret Frances “Peggy” Bacon of Ridgefield, artist winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts.

4th Place – Melody Ramos. Melody wrote about Harriet Beecher Stowe of Litchfield, famed author and abolitionist.


“The written words of our winners, and every student that took the time to put pen to paper, were very impressive and informative. I commend them for so thoughtfully telling the stories of some of the very accomplished women of Connecticut. Their insight was equally impressive in connecting these accomplishments over time, and how they affect us today. I hope that every student who participated takes this lesson and goes on to shape Connecticut’s future themselves. I’m certain that they have the talent and drive to do it,” said Sen. Eric Berthel.


“Congratulations to all the students for their excellent work,” said Sen. Kevin Kelly, “It was moving to hear the winning essayists share their writing with us, and tell the stories of so many accomplished women who overcame obstacles and paved the way for others. In the words of our 1st place winner Victoria, ‘women are strong, and we can do whatever we put our mind to without being held back.’ Great work by all the students who submitted essays and to our four impressive winners.”


“Listening to the passion in each student’s voice as they read their essay was inspiring,” Rep. Klarides-Ditria said. “The time and effort the students put into their work was evident, and each entry was interesting and informative. Great job.”


For the essay, students were asked to focus on one notable Connecticut woman, detailing her life and accomplishments and what those contributions meant to them.