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Students Give Wide Range of Opinions on President Obama's First Year in Office
Contact: Steve Jensen

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman today announced the results of her 10th annual Black History Essay Contest, which this year focused on students' opinions of President Barack Obama's first year in office

Nearly 300 high school juniors participated in the event, which is sponsored by the Office of the State Comptroller with the support of New Alliance Bank, Bank of America and People's Bank. Winners receive U.S. Savings Bonds of between $1,000 and $100.

"These insightful essays show that our students are both engaged and opinionated about issues that affect them and the rest of the nation," Wyman said. "We are fortunate to have such articulate, inspired young people as our next generation of leaders."

Comptroller Wyman will present the awards to the winners and their families at events scheduled in the coming weeks. The following are this year's winners and an excerpt from his or her essay:

1) Hannah Bellows - Waterbury Magnet Arts School

"President Obama has undoubtedly done some good things this year. However, there are some policies that Obama has executed that make me uneasy. I do not appreciate the use of taxpayers' money to rescue banks, companies, homeowners and students who borrowed more money than they could afford or did not save money when it was wise to do so. He accomplished a lot of good in his first year as the President. However, with that good came a dose of bad to balance the scale."

2) Allie Bukowski - Danbury High School

"The cry of 'Yes, we can' has faded considerably, but perhaps it doesn't have to fade completely. Given more time to heal a battered economy and hurting nation, Obama may still be able to deliver some of the hope he gave to a nation a year ago. Can we, as a nation, still work together toward a brighter future? Yes, we can."

3) Lisandra Morales - Bassick High School, Bridgeport

"Overall, President Obama will be remembered as a historic individual. His motivational abilities captured the eyes of the world. His willingness and determination to help the country regain its power is inspirational. He has shown the country that he may succeed at anything he puts his mind to."

4) Sarah Hodge - Bulkeley High School, Hartford

"With his first year of ups and downs, President Obama is doing well and will continue to lead our country forward. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was created in order for us to move the nation forward economically and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair pay Act moves this nation forward socially. I trust that this momentum will continue during the rest of his term and, hopefully, into a second term."

5) Ibrahim Kamara - Pathways to Technology Magnet High School, Hartford

"President Obama certainly receives an 'A-plus for effort' in his first year in office. Unfortunately, the American people are in a tough situation with the struggling economy and all the other problems that must be dealt with and need more than just effort; they need action. As President Obama said, 'Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.' "

6) Raven Archer - Wilby High School, Waterbury

"President Obama came into office at a most inopportune time. Americans were furious and demanding resolve for the war, the economy and basic elements of society such as adequate health care and living conditions. Despite the condition of the nation when Obama took control, he has handled the situation well, especially for only a year to have passed."

This year's judges were:

The State Comptroller appreciates input on this and other issues from residents of the state. Please feel free to contact her office by phone - (860) 702-3300; mail - OSC, 55 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106; or, via E-mail -

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For Immediate Release
April 14, 2010

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