Submitted by Kevin Maloney, CCM.
Two $1000 #LoCoolGov scholarships sponsored by Post University were awarded to Connecticut students at the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities’ (CCM) 2021 Annual Convention Dinner held at Mohegan Sun on November 30, 2021.
Students from Connecticut middle school grades 6 – 8 and high school grades 9 – 12 are invited to answer the question: what is cool about local government? They can submit an essay, poem, photo, painting, video, multimedia project, or any other medium as long as it fits the main theme of local government. The entries are judged on closeness to theme, originality, and creativity, and both of this year’s winners had a unique vision of local government.
The #LoCoolGov Middle School Winner is Trevor Rostowsky from Bethany Community School, who created a wooden model of Bethany Town Hall and wrote a paper about the town. Already a committed citizen, he asked for better sidewalks and bike paths, or even a skate park and paintball arena, saying it “would be cooler if we could add or offer the opportunity for younger individuals to get involved.” He credits his social studies teacher Mr. Ewen and First Selectwoman Paula Cofrancesco with teaching him about local government.
The #LoCoolGov High School Winners are Brigitte and Alexander Battistoni from Haddam Killingworth High School. They wrote an essay about their time participating in town events like “River Days” which is held each September at Haddam Meadows and helping their mother in the tax office. “Our local government is so much fun to be a part of and hopefully in the future we can influence more of our youth to get involved in town events,” they wrote, “Until then, we are small but mighty. We have low numbers but high spirits that make our town great.”
This idea was born out of the need to inspire a commitment to civic life and public service. Two CCM interns were charged with coming up with a framework for this scholarship, landing on #LoCoolGov.
“While it may not be as popular as the latest TikTok dance, it is critical that we engage with the future of Connecticut,” said Joe DeLong said, CCM Executive Director and CEO. “As we continue to endure through the pandemic, we want our students to know how local government works for them, and ultimately, hope that one day they will be inspired to public service themselves.”