Fairfield student is winner of statewide high school essay contest

The Connecticut Bar Foundation (CBF) has announced that Samuel M. Stuart of Fairfield, is the winner of the Fifteenth annual Quintin Johnstone Statewide High School Essay Contest, and that Harrison Pellerin of Hebron, and Michelle Printsev of Stamford, are the runner-up award recipients.

The CBF James W. Cooper Fellows sponsor the contest, which is open to all high school students in the state. This year, thirty schools and eighty-nine students participated in the contest. Students were asked to assume the role of a student representative on a local board of education (BOE) who is asked by the BOE to give some insight into the issue of school policy concerning transgender students’ use of school bathrooms based on the students’ gender identity rather than the students’ biological gender. State and Federal judges, law school professors and practicing attorneys evaluated the essays. Supreme Court Senior Justice Christine Vertefeuille presided over a special awards ceremony held at the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Tim Shearin, President of the CBF, noted that the winning essays “reflect thoughtful, well written presentations of a controversial topic.” The Fellows presented a $2,000 cash prize to Samuel Stuart of Greens Farms Academy, and $1,000 cash prizes were awarded to Michelle Printsev of the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering and Harrison Pellerin of RHAM High School.

Samuel M. Stuart, a freshman at Greens Farms Academy this year, son of David and Peggy Stuart, is on the Honor Roll, is a Student Ambassador and took Honors Biology and Honors Spanish 2 classes. In addition, Samuel was Rookie of the Year on the varsity wrestling team and participated in junior varsity baseball. He has also been a Fairfield American Little League Umpire since 2013. This summer, Samuel will be a Counselor at Greens Farms Academy’s Baseball Camp and is attending Brandeis University Mock Trial Boot Camp. Once he has completed high school, he plans to attend college and hopes to someday work for the FBI.

Harrison Pellerin, a junior at RHAM High School, son of Catherine Marx and David Pellerin, is a member of the National Honor Society, a recognized National Merit Scholarship High Scorer, and was elected Class Treasurer this past year. He also was chosen by the RHAM administration to be a student representative on the AHM Youth Services Leadership Commission to participate in a region-wide substance abuse prevention task force. Harrison also participated in the high school’s Mock Trial team, served as Vice President of the Technology Student Association (TSA), and placed 2nd in the 3-D CAD engineering competition at the 2015 statewide TSA conference. As member of the varsity tennis team, he has qualified to compete in the 2015 CIAC state tournament. He is also a recipient of the 2015 Dartmouth Book Award and has spent the past three summers as an active participant in the Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) organization. He also has volunteered for the campaign of his local candidate for the Connecticut House of Representatives, Gayle Mulligan. This summer, Harrison will be volunteering with the Muscular Dystrophy Association as a camp counselor. After graduating, he plans to attend a four-year university.

Michelle Printsev, a graduating senior at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE), daughter of Yevgeniy and Svetlana Printsev, has achieved the following awards and honors: National Merit Scholarship Corporation Commended Student (2014); AP Scholar with Distinction (2014); World Series of Innovation Contest, 1st place winner in 40 Chances Food and Nutrition Solutions: Reducing Food Waste (2013); World Affairs Global Forum Academic Worldquest, 2nd place team; Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contest, 3rd place winner (2013) and finalist (2014); University of Connecticut Early College Experience Economics Award (2014); CT Council of Language Art Teachers Poetry Recitation Contest, 3rd place in highest level Spanish, non-native (2014); Barnard College Book Award (2014); and Stamford Magazine’s ‘Top 10 Teen to Watch’ (Fall 2014). Michelle has also participated on the AITE Debate Team (in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade) where she helped her team achieve various honors. In addition, Michelle was in the Science National Honors Society and was a class leader in the Our Study of Planets, Aerospace, Cosmic Environments & Engineering Program (in 11th and 12th grade). She was a member of the Spanish National Honors Society (in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade) and was Secretary of the Society during her senior year. Michelle was in the National Honors Society (in 11th and 12th grade) where she was a weekly tutor for AITE students in all academic areas. Outside of school, Michelle volunteered with Caroline Simmons’s Connecticut State Representative Political Campaign as an Intern, has a Black Belt in Kempo Karate, and enjoys recreational target shooting. She also volunteers as a Junior Environmental Educator and Special Events Facilitator at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. Michelle plans to attend Yale University next fall and has hopes of becoming an analyst.

The CBF, established in 1952, is a non-profit organization that administers the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts and the Interest on Trust Accounts programs for the benefit of legal services agencies and for law school scholarships based on financial need. It also administers the Judicial Branch Grants-in-Aid and the Court Fees Grants-in-Aid programs to benefit legal services organizations. The CBF James W. Cooper Fellows Program was established in 1994. The Fellows promote a better understanding of the legal profession through the sponsorship and production of a diverse array of programs and projects, which seek to improve the legal profession and the administration of justice in Connecticut. Quintin Johnstone, who passed away in 2014, was a professor at Yale Law School, served as president of the CBF from 1987-1991, participated in a variety of Fellows Projects for many years, and was a long time member of the Fellows Education and Program Committee which helps to organize the annual Essay Contest.

Further more on the CBF James W. Cooper Fellows Quintin Johnstone Essay Contest can be found on the Foundation’s website, www.ctbarfdn.org.

 Dwight H. Merriam, Fellows Education and Program Committee Chair, CBF; Jack G. Steigelfest, Chair, James W. Cooper Fellows Essay Contest, CBF; Deborah Anger, English Teacher, RHAM High School; Harrison Pellerin, RHAM High School; Connecticut Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Christine S. Vertefeuille; Samuel Stuart, Greens Farms Academy; Christos Kolovos, Asst. Head of School for Academic Affairs, Greens Farms Academy; Tim Shearin, President, CBF.

Dwight H. Merriam, Fellows Education and Program Committee Chair, CBF; Jack G. Steigelfest, Chair, James W. Cooper Fellows Essay Contest, CBF; Deborah Anger, English Teacher, RHAM High School; Harrison Pellerin, RHAM High School; Connecticut Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Christine S. Vertefeuille; Samuel Stuart, Greens Farms Academy; Christos Kolovos, Asst. Head of School for Academic Affairs, Greens Farms Academy; Tim Shearin, President, CBF.

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