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Litchfield [student] wins state’s top poetry prize

Register Citizen Staff

June 5, 2004

LITCHFIELD -- Alexandra Regenbogen’s poem about a school bus ride won high honors at the seventh annual IMPAC-Connecticut State University Young Writers Awards on Friday, placing Litchfield High School on the literary map once again.

Regenbogen, [17], had been one of the recipients of IMPAC county-wide awards, but last night she was deemed the best young poet in the statewide competition. She accepted the $1,000 award along with Montville High School student Emily Dykes, who won in the statewide prose category.

The 17 young writers, ages 13 to 18, have already won $1,000 for their pieces within the regional competitions.

Regenbogen, who said she was excited to win an award after [competing] in 2003, said she has always enjoyed writing, but it took a creative writing class she enrolled in last year to really spark her interest.

"I am really excited about this," Regenbogen said.

Litchfield High School Principal Tim Breslin had nothing but praise for Regenbogen after she won the big award, although he said she has always stood out as a remarkable student, with or without her honors.

"She is one of the strongest students I have known in my career," Breslin said. "Not only is she a good writer and debater, but she has been for four years a fine leader. She’s one of the students in school that every time I get the chance to talk to her, I feel like I am talking with someone very special."

Breslin also credited LHS English teacher [Debbie] Dove for being a positive force, not only in nurturing Regenbogen’s talents, but [also] the several other LHS students awarded for their entries in the county division this year.

Galen DiDomizio, Ashley Langer, Meridith Hyres, Kadie Dellacamera, Sean Fogarty, Meredith Murelli and Michele Murel were also winners from LHS [in a pilot program for writers of French and Spanish]. Galen’s essay, "El Globo Nervioso," was about a nervous balloon. His work, along with Meredith’s and Ashley’s, was written in Spanish. Others, such as Meredith and Kadie’s prose work, were written in French.

"It’s exciting and surprising that so many kids have done so well," Breslin said.

Regenbogen’s wining piece, "A School Bus Etching," describes a boy’s reflection on history. It was one of the many creative works that IMPAC recognized as a way of affirming the work of young writers. This year’s ceremony was a "milestone" event, according to writers’ trust representative Andy Thibault. The trust has given a total of $100,000 to the state’s best young writers since the program began.

Jessica Kastner can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

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