Governor Romney, Education Leaders Salute College and Career Outreach Contest Finalists- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Contact:Eric Fehrnstrom or Felix Browne, (617) 725-4025
Heidi Perlman (DOE), (781) 338-3106
Eileen O’Connor (BHE), (617) 994-6903

Governor Romney, Education Leaders Salute College and Career Outreach Contest Finalists

Boston - Governor Mitt Romney today joined state education leaders to honor nine public school students who have created outreach campaigns that encourage their fellow students to stay in school, take rigorous courses and go on to college.

Launched earlier this year by the Massachusetts Department of Education, the first-ever College and Career Outreach Contest invited high school students from across the Commonwealth to develop advertisements for consideration in a public information campaign on college and career readiness this fall. The contest was funded by a National Governor’s Association high school reform grant.

"Massachusetts students are at the top of their class nationwide, and making sure they stay there will take everyone’s help," said Romney. "This includes students who through their own hard work and support of their classmates can have a major effect on our continued success."

To be considered for the contest, students were asked to create either a television advertisement or poster/brochure to communicate a message they felt would resonate with teens. Contest submissions were reviewed by the Department of Education and the Board of Higher Education, members of the Massachusetts Student Advisory Council as well as art directors and copywriters from Boston-based ad agency Hill, Holliday, who donated their services pro-bono. The first and second place television advertisement contestants spent a day at WGBH Boston working with a professional editor to refine their submissions.

"It’s easy for us to talk about ways to get our kids to stay in school and go to college, but nobody knows what resonates with young people better than the teens themselves," said Education Commissioner David Driscoll. "All of the entries we received in this competition were thoughtful and hit on the right message, that staying in school and striving for excellence will pay off in the end. I congratulate all of the students who participated in this competition."

"In today’s knowledge economy, it is critical that all students in Massachusetts take a rigorous course of study in high school, go on to college and prepare for careers. Doing so means greater chances of earning a higher wage and benefiting the Massachusetts economy," said Pat Plummer, Chancellor of Public Higher Education in Massachusetts. "Anything that helps communicate the value of this path – particularly in the early teen years – will lead to greater opportunities and better earnings for our future workforce."

In 2005, Massachusetts was named one of 10 "Honor States" and received a $2 million National Governor’s Association education grant, funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition to a statewide public information campaign around college and career readiness, the NGA grant will fund a "one-stop" web portal for students, parents, guidance counselors and adult learners in Massachusetts in addition to a School-to-College database to set state policies around curriculum development and course alignment.

The following contestants were selected from among more than 60 entries from 17 high schools across Massachusetts. First place contestants received $1,000, second place contestants received $200 and third place contestants received $100. The posters and brochures will be distributed to high schools this fall and the television advertisements will be aired as public service announcements on local television stations over the same time period.

The Top Television Advertisement Contestants

First Place
Lauren Bernazzani, Hillary Keefe, Dennis Johnston
Whitman-Hanson High School
"Diary of a Dropout"

Second Place
Patrick Reynolds, Dan Ballester
Whitman-Hanson High School
"Will You Sketch Your Life"

Third Place
Tyshaunda Hasberry
Boston Arts Academy
"The Real Tip"

The Top Poster/Brochure Contestants

First Place
Ashlei Vohnoutka
Bristol-Plymouth Vocational Technical School
"Dropping Out Is Never the Answer"

Second Place
Stephanie Guarda
Ludlow High School
"Help Wanted"

Third Place
Becky Wright
Newton North High School
"Education Pays"

Last Updated: August 31, 2006

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