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Energize Connecticut and its partners, Eversource and AVANGRID, Inc. subsidiaries, United Illuminating, Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas honored 43 finalists during its 13th annual eesmarts™ Student Contest Award Ceremony at the State Capitol.


Over 1,200 Connecticut students in grades K-12 and college competed in this year’s contest. From posters to persuasive writing, community-based projects to script writing, the eesmarts Student Contest encourages students to utilize their science, engineering, technology, art and mathematics skills to showcase their knowledge of energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability.


The ceremony attracted more than 150 students, parents, teachers, elected officials and clean energy supporters from across the state in celebration of the students’ hard work. Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Mary Sotos served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker, and FOX 61’s Joe Furey was the Master of Ceremonies.


“With on-going advancements in renewable energies, green building and energy efficient technologies, it is imperative that we equip our students to not only be environmentally-conscious but to succeed in this emerging industry,” said Sotos. “It is an honor to be a part of an initiative like eesmarts that encourages students to expand their knowledge and skill set in this subject, and brings their vision of an energy-efficient society to life.”


Representing 22 cities and towns across Connecticut, the 43 winners included:



First: Landon Paradis, Lebanon

Second: Kayyana Gotti, New Haven

Third: Lasya Josyula, Hamden


First Grade

First: Samantha Roundtree, New Haven

Second: Makayla Ramos, Stratford

Third: KaraLynn Marsh, Newington


Second Grade

First: Fisnik Hasani, Stratford

Second: Bennett Zielinski, Torrington

Third: Renata DeOliveira, Bridgeport


Third Grade

First: Sydney Bronk-Zdunowski, East Berlin

Second: Cole Christman, Hamden

Third: Mariah Jimenez-Ruiz, Middletown


Fourth Grade

First: Alex Patt, West Hartford

Second: Molly Weinberg, New Haven

Third: Waliullah Ammar Khawaja, Hamden



Fifth Grade

First: Mujtaba Ather, Hamden

Second: Olivia Cabrera St. Pierre, Wallingford

Third: Zahara Sumani, Middletown


Sixth Grade

First: Elizabeth Speaker, Torrington

Second: Diana Zito, Marlborough

Third: Natalia Mocarski, New Britain


Seventh Grade

First: Jolie Edwards, Deep River

Second: Ella Pitman, Deep River

Third: Grace McPadden, Shelton


Eighth Grade

First: William Harper, Darien

Second: Ryan Blatney, Darien

Third: Eliana Bouchard, Winsted


High School: Grades 9-11

First: Jacob Manente, Michael Stefano – Windsor

Second: Natalia Lecce, Ashlynn O’Keefe, Amanda Hill, KC Marron – West Haven

Third: Tatianna McQuay-Ward, Tim Gomes, Hunter Wood – Groton


High School: Grade 12

First: Aileen Leon, New Fairfield

Second: Sydney Gouveia – New Fairfield

Third: Thomas Ciardi, New Fairfield



First (tied): Jordan Merrill, Willimantic

First (tied): Paul Stenko, Willimantic

Second: Kate Cobb, Willimantic

Third: Kyle O’Connor, Willimantic


Students in grades K-8 answered grade-level specific prompts in the form of a poster (Grades K-2), narrative (Grade 3), news article (Grade 4), book review (Grade 5), essay (Grade 6), speech (Grade 7), or public service announcement (Grade 8). Students in grades 9-11 competed in the community service-learning project award category, which asked students to propose a community-based project to address an energy-related issue. Students in grade 12 created a persuasive image that advocated for energy conservation, alternate energy source or addressed an environmental concern.


The “Wright the World” category invites college students enrolled in a two or four-year college or university in Connecticut to write a 25-30 minute play supporting the eesmarts curriculum and mission.


For more information on the student contest and the eesmarts program, please visit


About Energize Connecticut

Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the State of Connecticut, the Connecticut Green Bank, Eversource, UI, SCG and CNG, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Information on energy-saving programs can be found at or by calling 877.WISE.USE.