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17 ACT Writing Students Honored in Regional Contest

2018 ACT Scholastic Student Winners with TeacherWillimantic CT, Feb. 12, 2018 -- Seventeen students at EASTCONN’s Arts at the Capital Theater (ACT) magnet high school have won 26 awards for their writing and poetry from the 2018 Northeast Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a prestigious national program that has supported teenagers’ artistic development since 1923.

“There are thousands upon thousands of submissions each year and the judging is very competitive, but many of our students shined amidst the deep competition,” said ACT Creative Writing teacher John Wetmore.

Six of ACT’s 17 student winners earned 7 Gold Key Awards, Scholastic’s highest honor, in the first round of regional writing competitions among Northeastern states. ACT’s Gold Key winners are senior DJ Hettinger, Willimantic, winner of two Gold Key awards for poetry and humor; senior India Arriola, Hampton, poetry; senior Mae Santillo, Lebanon, flash fiction; sophomore Kasi Hernandez, Willimantic, poetry; freshman Remus Green, Thompson, short story; and former ACT student Cormac Nocton, poetry. Their works will now compete with regional Scholastic Gold Key winners from across the United States. Winners of the national Gold Key Awards will be announced later this spring.

Other ACT students whose work was honored by Scholastic with Silver Keys and Honorable Mentions include: senior Alex Castro, Hebron, poetry; senior Grace Ellis, Norwich, poetry; senior Mary Neal, Windham, poetry; senior Theresse Weigland-Watkinson, Norwich, critical essay; sophomore Ellis McGinley, Ashford, poetry; sophomore Eevee Stinson, Mansfield, poetry; sophomore Hannah Bentley, Willimantic, poetry; sophomore Ian Harris, Plainfield, poetry; sophomore Rachel Charron, Plainfield, poetry; sophomore Sonya Surface, Willimantic, poetry; and freshman Mykaila Hills, Stafford, poetry. Gold Key winners who also received Silver Keys and Honorable Mentions include Remus Green, short story and poetry; DJ Hettinger, short story and critical essay; Cormac Nocton, poetry; and Mae Santillo, poetry.

EASTCONN’s ACT arts magnet high school is currently enrolling students in grades 9-12 for the 2018-2019 school year. Located in EASTCONN’s historic Capitol Theater in downtown Willimantic, ACT offers a full-day high school program that focuses on rigorous core academics and a rich variety of arts disciplines.

To learn more about ACT or its Creative Writing program, contact ACT Principal Sarah Mallory at 860-465-5636 or visit www.eastconn.org/act. ACT is a magnet high school administered by EASTCONN, a public, non-profit, Regional Educational Service Center that has been serving the education needs of northeastern Connecticut schools and communities since 1980.

The 94-year-old Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in the U.S., and the largest source of scholarships for young artists and writers. Begun as a small writing contest with six winning applicants in 1923, the contest today draws nearly 320,000 works of art and writing in 29 categories from students in grades 7-12 across the U.S. (www.artandwriting.org).