Three Darien 7th Grade Poets Honored as Finalists in Statewide Energy-Related Contest

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Darien students Lila Debano, Mei Gallagher and Jack Pegler were honored last week as finalists at the 14th eesmarts Student Contest ceremony held at the State Capitol for their entries in the seventh-grade category.

— an announcement from Energize Connecticut

Presented by Energize Connecticut in partnership with Eversource and United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas, subsidiaries of AVANGRID, Inc., the eesmarts Student Contest invites Connecticut students in grades K-12 to create projects about energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability.

Lila received 1st place for her poem entitled “What Would the Ocean Say.” In it, Lila discusses ocean pollution and its effects on sea creatures. She states “ocean pollution is causing animals to die. 1 million sea creatures are killed, each year that goes by.”


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Darien students Lila Debano (left) won 1st place, Jack Pegler (middle) received 2nd place, and Mei Gallagher (middle) was awarded 3rd place in the Grade 7 category at the 14th eesmarts student contest award ceremony held on May 9, 2019 at the State Capitol. They’re pictured alongside Ron Araujo, Eversource; Jane LAno, UI; and state Rep. Matt Blumenthal, whose district covers part of Darien.

Jack was awarded 2nd place for his Dr. Seuss-inspired poem “An Ode to H2O.” His poem served as a reminder about the importance of conserving and protecting water. Jack explained that an increase in water usage has the potential to cause significant issues for everyone in the future.

Mei received 3rd place for her poem about global warming. Her poem was a call-to-action to reduce pollution, protect the planet and save wildlife.

The ceremony attracted more than 150 students, parents, teachers, elected officials, and clean energy supporters from across the state in celebration of the students’ hard work. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Mary Sotos was the keynote speaker, and Miss Connecticut 2018 Bridget Oei served as Master of Ceremonies.

There’s more information on the student contest and the eesmarts program online.

About Energize Connecticut

Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the Connecticut Green Bank, the State, and your local electric and gas utilities, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Information on energy-saving programs can be found at or by calling 1.877.WISE.USE.

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