The Patch, March 9, 2011

By Michael Hayes

Emily Spence of Durham (left), Rep. Matt Lesser, Coginchaug Regional H.S. English Teacher Kris Nystrom & Hannah Fowler of Middlefield at the state capitol.

Coginchaug High School seniors Hannah Fowler and Emily Spence were recognized Wednesday in Hartford after taking top honors in an essay contest sponsored by the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women.

Fowler, of Middlefield, won first place in the Young Women’s Leadership Program Essay Contest for her depiction of her aunt, Susan Lee Fowler, whose “bold attitude, confidence and selflessness” have inspired Hannah to work towards becoming a nurse practitioner incorporating functional and holistic medicine so she may “enhance the lives of as many people possible.”

Spence, of Durham, won second place in the contest for her essay about Mirinda Carfrae, who won the 2010 Ironman Kona Hawaii World Championship. Emily wrote that Carfrae inspired her “to stop focusing on who’s better than me and just make the best version of myself.”

The awards were presented by state Rep. Matt Lesser during the annual Women’s Day at the Capitol.

“I’m so proud of both Hannah and Emily—they are clearly headed for great things,” Lesser said.

Fowler and Spence were joined by members of their family and their English teacher, Kris Nystrom, during the ceremony.

Original Article