The Essay Contest

About The Essay Contest

The CT COLT Essay Contest is an annual event open to students whose teachers are members of CT COLT.  The goals for the Essay Contest are:

  • To offer students a voice with regard to world language education and policies, in addition to recognizing excellence in research, documentation, and writing.
  • To have an exemplary piece of writing that CT COLT may use for advocacy; to that end, the essay needs to be in English.

Each year, the Essay Contest has a different theme, as well as a series of prompting questions that will help students compose their work.  It is to be in either letter or essay format, consisting of no more than two typed, double-spaced pages. Students should incorporate and cite current research in foreign language pedagogy.  Writers are also encouraged to include their own viewpoints and personal experience as it pertains to the essay topic.

2021 Essay Contest

Announcement of the Winner of the 2021 COLT Essay Contest

This year CT COLT conducted the seventh (9th) annual WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST.   For 2021, students explored the following theme:  Celebrating languages and learners with inclusivity and diversity.   In a formal essay-response, students researched and wrote about one or more of the following subtopics related to inclusivity and diversity:

(1)  Inclusive and diverse learning environments in schools;

(2) Different points of view or perspectives, representing a diverse group of peoples and learners;

(3) A wide range of diverse educational teaching materials and topics utilized in classes, accessible by all learners;

(4) Celebrating diverse communities and diverse students, from diverse backgrounds, diverse cultures, diverse beliefs and diverse life experiences.

(5) Diversity as it relates to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, ability, age, religious belief, or political conviction;

(6) Diversity, as represented by the entire staff employed in schools and working with students.

Students were required to construct well-organized arguments, based on objective, fact-based information, in addition to drawing upon educational and personal life experiences.  This year, the COLT Essay Contest Committee received a total of twenty-two (22) essays from students and their teachers across the state of Connecticut.  The essays were read and scored according to the 2021 contest writing rubric which included the following criteria: (1) citations and accuracy of facts cited; (2) persuasiveness of arguments; (3) conventions of writing and (4) organization of essay.  CT COLT and all Board Members would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank all student writers and their teachers for participating in this year’s contest.  All students who submitted essays for this year’s contest will receive a 2021 Certificate of Participation from CT COLT.

This year’s committee is proud to announce that the winner of the 2021 CT COLT WORLD LANGUAGE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST is Tristan Ward of the New Haven Academy and who also attends the Yale World Language After School Program for Italian.  Our Committee and CT COLT applaud Tristan for an excellent essay that references both fact-based arguments and personal experience.  In a well-organized essay, Tristan begins by framing the topic of inclusivity and diversity with a discussion about the pre-existing polarization in US society and the animosity that exists and targets oppressed communities.  He continues by stating that the role of schools is crucial in fostering a diverse and inclusive climate and that ultimately serves to replicate this environment in US society.  Another important point in Tristan’s essay concerns the differences that exist between various peoples and groups.  Such differences are sometimes misconstrued and can divide groups in US society, instead of being a force for culturally enriching our society.  From present day, Tristan takes us back through US history, characterizing it as being plagued by a severe mistreatment of marginalized peoples.  This disturbing historical trend continues, even perpetuated by contemporary curricula that does not fully discuss or address the issue.  Furthermore, these textbook histories that are taught in Connecticut (CT) classrooms do not pay adequate tribute to important minority figures who were innovators and catalysts for change in the US.  Increasing the diversity within what is being taught in CT classrooms will provide our students with a better understanding of our society, our future and ourselves.  Tristan closes the essay with the important notion that the presentation of an accurate historical narrative and subsequent discussions in schools will serve as initial steps down the path of creating a society that truly values diversity and inclusion.

CT COLT is pleased to present Tristan with a $50 award.  In addition, we are happy to provide Tristan’s teacher, Mr. Luis Rivera, with a $50 Carlex or Teacher’s Discovery voucher.   CT COLT would like to thank all students and teachers who participated in this year’s contest and look forward to next year’s CT COLT Essay Contest in 2022.  Please click HERE to download a copy of Tristan’s winning essay.

John R. Rook and Judith Ojeda, Co-Chairs for the 2021 CT COLT Essay Contest