Students from eight high schools across the state won prizes in the eighth annual Connecticut Foundation for Open Government high school essay contest that drew a record 155 entries.
The top prize of $1,000 named in honor of Edward W. Frede, late editor of The News-Times in Danbury, went to Sean Gantwerker, a Ridgefield High School junior.
Directors of the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government (CFOG) voted to name the first place prize in honor of Mr. Frede, a long time editor of The News-Times and a CFOG officer before his death last year.
The second place prize of $500 went to Colleen Wilson, a senior at East Lyme High School. The third place prize of $300 was won by Julien Lasseur, a senior at Housatonic Regional High School.
Honorable mention awards of $50 each went to Ryan Skukowski, a student at Enfield High School; Angela Finn, a student at Westhill High School in Stamford; Justine Monti , a student at New London, High School; Lorena Lima, a student at West Haven High School and Dan Catalano, a student Danbury High School.
Announcement of the prizes was made by Janet Manko, president of the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government and publisher of The Lakeville Journal. Ms. Manko said the Foundation sponsors this annual high school essay contest in an effort to get students thinking about open government problems facing the nation today and in the future.
Students in this year’s contest were asked to write an essay on one of three topics. The topics were:
1. The news media has many critics, and one of the main complaints is that journalists trample too much on personal privacy. Is there a difference to the right of privacy of elected officials, celebrities and ordinary citizens? Is so, why?
2. You are the editor of a newspaper. Your reporters have documented that an FBI team has been conducting a narcotics investigation using wiretaps and searches of private homes without obtaining a warrant from a judge as required by law. You feel strongly that the public has a right to know that the FBI has been violating the law but a high ranking FBI official has called you and said publication of the story will prevent the breaking up of a major drug ring. Should or shouldn’t you publish the story and why?
3. Many countries require mandatory civic service for young citizens. Should there be some sort of compulsory service, military or civilian, for all people over the age of 18 in the United States.
Two of the top prize winners, Ganwerker and Lasseur wrote their essays on the FBI and the Press. Ms. Wilson wrote her essay on mandatory civic service.
For more information on the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government go to www.cfog.org.