Nine Schools Receive Challenge to Educational Citizenship Awards

On May 23rd, students, advisors and principals from around the state filled the CAS conference room for the presentation of the 2017 Challenge to Educational Citizenship Awards. Representatives from the nine winning schools were in attendance to share and showcase their extraordinary community service initiatives. 

The Challenge to Educational Citizenship Awards Program began in 1996 and is the brainchild of the State Student Advisory Council on Education (SSACE). Projects submitted for consideration must demonstrate good citizenship, civic awareness and leadership and must provide opportunities for students to help others.

Director of Student Activities Dave Maloney opened the ceremony by praising the students as “champions of service and altruism who are committed to promoting the values and beliefs that exemplify a positive school climate.” Executive Director Dr. Karissa Niehoff congratulated the winners and applauded them for making a difference in the lives of others.  “Thank you for all you do to better others and the world,” said Dr. Niehoff. “Perhaps now more than ever our schools are in need of service-oriented leaders. Your energy, your hope, your vision and your generosity of spirit keep our schools running.” 

SSACE members Isha Dalal from Trumbull High School, Tyler Deitelbaum from Naugatuck High School, and Audrey Garcia from Bethel High School presented plaques to each of this year’s Challenge Award recipients.

Below is a brief description of each of the inspiring programs selected for recognition this year. Or, click here to download a ceremony brochure.


Pictured at right (clockwise from top left): Director of Student Activities Dave Maloney and Executive Director Dr. Karissa Niehoff; representatives from Broadview Middle School; representatives from Conard High School; representatives from DePaolo Middle School; representatives from Naugatuck High School; representatives from Rockville High School; representatives from Science & Technology Magnet High School; representatives from Pomfret Community School; representatives from Madison Middle School; and, representatives from Canton Middle School


Broadview Middle School, Danbury
“Broadview United”

Broadview United is a program that includes Unified Sports, Leadership, and Service to the community.  The entire program is designed by students to make their school kinder and more inclusive.


Canton Middle School
“Day of Service”

Day of service, an action plan by the school’s leadership committee, brought all 285 students and 30 faculty members outside of the classrooms to complete a variety of service projects within the community.


Conard High School, West Hartford
 “Bits and Bytes”

Bits and Bytes is a club at Conard that partners our high school students with 4th graders at Smith STEM Elementary School to teach younger students the core concepts of computer science.


Joseph A. DePaolo Middle School, Southington
“Southington Says NO”

Those involved in the project created an app as a tool to help students learn to say NO in an effort to prevent the substance abuse problems in Southington. The app provides access to professional opinions, an anonymous log, ways to report problems, and further educational initiatives.


Madison Middle School, Trumbull
“Sending Holiday Hugs”

The KARE club makes fleece tied blankets to comfort children who are suffering in hospitals and local shelters. The club adopted the Center for Family Justice and provided those in need with special goodie bags.


Naugatuck High School
“DECA Boys’ Day”

This DECA Club project offers peer mentoring by pairing high school junior and senior boys with 5th through 8th grade boys to help improve self-esteem and decision making, particularly for those lacking a father figure.


Pomfret Community School
“Hope For Haiti”

For the past 7 years, 7th and 8th graders have worked with Partners in Development and the Haiti Health Foundation to improve the lives of people in Haiti who were devastated by the 2010 earthquake.


Rockville High School, Vernon
“Breaking Stereotypes”

The “Unity Team” launched this program during lunch waves to symbolically end the use of racial, religious, ethnic, and social class stereotyping.  The program initiated many positive discussions about ending hate and hurtful words throughout the community.


Science & Technology Magnet High School, New London
“More Than Words”

The mission of this program is to promote respect for diversity, facilitate communication and build trust among all members of the greater New London community. Students have led workshops at local elementary and middle schools to discuss diversity and anti-bullying.