Students Writers Pay Tribute to Influential Elders with Award-Winning Essays

For Immediate Release
March 5, 2014

Contact: Todd Kluss
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Twelve fourth graders in the Denver area have been selected as the winners of a writing contest honoring older adults who have inspired them and made a difference in their lives. All are students in Jayme Mansfield’s class at Aspen Academy in Greenwood Village, CO.

The competition was sponsored by the K–12 Committee of the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), the educational branch of The Gerontological Society of America. The awards were presented at AGHE’s 40th Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference, which took place from February 27 to March 2 at the Westin Denver Downtown. This is the premier forum for professionals in the field of aging to present their work and share ideas about gerontological and geriatric education and training.

This year’s contest theme was “Bridging the Generations: An Important Older Person in My Life.” The winners are:

First place:
“The Journey Home” by Anoushka Agarwala (Poem)
“My Grandfather is an Important Person in My Life” by Joseph Gillett (Essay)

Second place:
“Generations of Love” by Ford Springer (Poem)
“An Important Person in My Life” by Kaila Davidson (Essay)
“My Grandma” by Jocelynn King (Essay)

Third place: 
“Katy” by Kathleen Lynch (Poem)
“My One and Only Grandpa” by Jake Fanale (Essay)
“Someone I Love Very Much” by Kirsten Lersch (Essay)

Honorable Mention:
“A Poem to Pappy” by Nolan Cooper (Poem)
“Grandma” by Kate Petersen (Poem)
“Gigi Love” by Bria Brown (Essay)
“My Special Papa” by Byron Starishevsky (Essay)

The students read their essays and poems to the audience, which included the important older adults in their lives, family members, friends, classmates, and AGHE meeting attendees. Each award recipient received a framed certificate signed by the AGHE President Janet Frank, PhD, and a Barnes & Noble gift card.


The Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) is the educational branch of The Gerontological Society of America, the nation’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. AGHE seeks to advance gerontology as a field of study at institutions of higher education through conferences, publications, technical assistance, research studies, and consultation with policy makers. It is currently the only institutional member organization dedicated to gerontology and geriatrics education worldwide.

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